How You Can Help Create Strong Women Through Education – Human Rights Blog Action Day

Education is the most powerful weapon ~ Mandela Quote

LifeOhm is participating in Blog Action Day 2013 #BAD13 along with more than 2,000 other bloggers in more than 126 countries worldwide to bring attention to human rights issues. There are so many human rights issues that need attention that it was difficult to decide where to focus. I chose to discuss the right for girls to receive an education because of how important education has been in my own life.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child classify education as a human right, and it has been shown to be a key element in reducing poverty. According to a recent article in BusinessWeek, “In a world fraught with war and poverty, hunger and disease, education is one of the few ‘silver bullets’ that can contribute to meaningful improvements in people’s lives.”

I have been very blessed to be able to get an education. In addition to the standard primary and secondary schooling we all enjoy in the United States, I was the first person in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree and will be the first one to receive a master’s degree next summer. My education has helped open many doors in my career and in life in general. What an injustice it is to deny others that same basic right.

“For most of the world’s girls, it is about escaping the trap of child labor or the perils of going into the labor of child birth while you are still a child yourself.” ~UNGEI

Unfortunately not all girls have the opportunity to receive an education. In many developing countries, education is a luxury that many are unable to pursue. In Kenya, for example, there is a fee for high school that is out of reach for many. In some places, girls are discouraged or simply not allowed to attend school.

This video clip, To Educate a Girl from the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative shows what many girls around the world face:

Educating girls and women around the world makes sense for so many reasons. According to the BusinessWeek article, The Economic Benefits of Educating Women:

  • Educated women contribute to the quality, size, and productivity of the workforce. They can get better paying jobs, allowing them to provide daily necessities, health care, and education to support the family.
  • Female education can yield a “growth premium” in GDP trends and that narrowing the gender gap in employment can boost per capita income.
  • Educated women are better at managing their own and their family’s health issues, thereby reducing infant and maternal mortality, as well as health-care costs, and improving demographic structures.

The World Bank states that evidence shows that countries with greater gender equality are more likely to have higher economic growth.

“Strong women – may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.” ~unknown

So what can you do to help create strong women through education?

  • Learn more about initiatives underway at the United Way Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI)
  • Support Mothers Fighting for Others (MFFO) – I learned about MFFO when I met Jeff Turner at a social media conference in 2007. Jeff’s wife Rocky created MFFO and they have been doing some amazing work with girls in Kenya to increase their educational opportunities.
  • Inform your own children about the importance of an education and helping others. We need long-term solutions to providing education and need the help of future generations.
  • Participate in other local and national initiatives to increase education worldwide. For example, my church has a program that helps send books and materials to people in Nigeria.

What ways can you help promote education? I’d love to hear your thoughts and discussions in the comments below.

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