Girl Rising By: Lex Decker

What is more important, the upholding of traditions or equal treatment of all persons regardless of their gender? I would hope that you would pick the ladder. There is always a battle between the rich and historical past and the hopeful and progressive future. For girls around the world, this battle can be felt in every aspect of their life. Whether its Suma in Nepal who was sold into slavery so that her parents could afford her brothers education or Amina in Afghanistan who has spent her life doing chores for her brothers up until the age where she could be married away to settle a debt that her father had, their traditions and ancient cultural beliefs molded a life for them in which they were undervalued, or perhaps valued, but by a price tag. With "66 million girls out of school globally” and the majority of them being in 3rd world countries, a clear pattern can be seen. The simple rights and opportunities that are given to boys around the world are not being given to their female counterparts. We as a society need to ask ourselves what the cost of not educating and caring for these girls is, and where this mistreatment is stemming from.

The Problem with Long and Rich History

What are the first things that come to mind when you think about history? Maybe the pyramids of Giza or the Civil War, but most people rarely think of the cultural beliefs that become cemented regardless of the time period and societal needs. This notion is incredibly important when talking about the freedoms of girls around the world. In many cultures, girls are still seen as the house keepers and chore doers of the family while the men are educated and work outside of the home. These beliefs although honoring tradition, limit the productivity and success of girls all across the country. To get a sense of the divide between the education of boys and girls, take a look at the following statistic "There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school.” This means that there are 33 million reasons why developing countries need to educate their girls within the primary school systems. In addition, "A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.” This statistic proves that educating the female youth can result in more money for their respective families and an eventual increase for the GDP of the country. These cultural beliefs must be looked at with a critical eye so that they can be replaced with more productive and beneficial ways of life.

A Better Education is a Better Life

Those with access to tertiary, secondary or even primary education may tend to take it for granted. Daily education becomes a second nature for them and in many cases, they regret having to attend their respective schools. This changes for children in developing countries, especially the girls. Education isn’t readily available to them and is instead replaced by numerous chores. For them, education is the opportunity of a lifetime and can open doors to a better way of life. Educating girls now can result in more educated future generations. Why? Because "Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.” Education breeds education and therefore opportunity. Education is all of the above, at it’s core however, it is empowering and the creation of lifelong opportunity. It inspires productivity and success in even the youngest. Education is a gift for some, but must become a right for all.

An Equal World is a Better World for All

Regardless of the inspiration and productivity that can be a bi-product of education, their are visible positive effects. In terms of a country’s economy, educating the female population creates a stronger and more diverse workforce that leads to an eventual increase in the country’s GDP. "If India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, their GDP would rise by $5.5 billion.” Just 1% of a fraction of their population in the workforce results in a 5.5 billion dollar surplus. An investment in a girls education is also an investment in the future of the country. Why this increase? Because “women operate a majority of small farms and business in the developing world.” These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the positive effects of educating women across the globe.

A Better World for Some is A Brighter World for All

At this very moment girls around the world are being giving less of an opportunity. They are getting passed by because of their gender. They are given a lesser life and a loss of opportunity. This injustice isn't just hurting them, it's hurting all of us. Instead of inspiring, we are limiting. Instead of educating we are censoring. Our society needs to move on and come to terms with the fact that equal treatment is the number one characteristic of a better world. Without it, our society will be stuck in the past and chained to traditions that although rich in history, limit productivity. We need to make this change, and we need to make it now.



Created with images by qthomasbower - "Two of Arts - 2000 Visual Mashups" • DavidHBolton - "Pyramids" • xMizLitx - "IMG_1128"

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