It has been stated that “130 million girls didn’t go to school today – not because they didn’t want to, but because they weren’t given the chance.
What are the benefits of providing education for girls?
Educate a girl in one of the world’s poorest countries, and it boosts her health, wealth, and ability to take control of her life. She’s less likely to become a child bride, experience violence or contract HIV. But it doesn’t stop there. She’ll have healthier, better educated children. And she could help lift her family — and her entire country — out of poverty. (ref: ONE)
However this is not the whole story. What we need to focus our attention on, is the quality of education for girls. We still know of curricular that are definitely biased against girls and teaching approaches that are certainly not gender sensitive. We know that many girls do not feel safe walking to school and even when they are in the ‘safety’ of the school itself – known abuses by teachers and other students are prevalent.
From “The working group on girls”
School girls of all ages have reported a large number of instances of sexual harassment and assault, ranging from gender discrimination to rape, exploitation, and physical and psychological intimidation in school. Schoolgirls have noted that they have faced public shaming by school authorities due to their gender; much of this happens in countries where girls are discouraged from attending school. Adolescent girls have also noted that in schools with inadequate bathrooms and facilities, they are less likely to attend school during their menstrual cycles, if not drop out completely when their cycles begin.
Perpetrators of violence against girls in school range from teachers, parents, authority figures, and fellow students. But violence does not only happen in school, it also happens during school-related activities and in some cases, on the walk to and from school. Consequences of such violence range from unwanted pregnancies at an early age, poor academic performance, high drop out rates and absenteeism, and low self esteem among girls.
At this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), members agreed that any form of violence against women and girls violates their basic human rights. Thus, any school, in any country with violence against girls denies those girls the right to education; this is a direct infringement of their rights as defined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Schools are expected to uphold the rights and dignity of all schoolgirls.
Today and everyday lets work on the quality of education for girls before pushing more girls into situations where they are consistently humiliated and discriminated against just for being a girl, and just for attending school.