The Case for Educating Girls
The need to improve access to secondary education for girls remains an important issue in the 21st century. The population trends, education gaps and the ripple effect of educating girls indicate the importance and benefits of educating girls, especially through secondary school.
Population trends: Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world. More than one-quarter of the population in Asia, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa are girls. The population of young women aged 10 to 24 is expected to increase by 2020.
Educational Gaps: Approximately one-quarter of girls (over 70 million) in developing countries are not in school.
Ripple Effect of educating girls: Research in developing countries shows a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers. Where education levels are higher among women, family size is smaller and women’s health and economic status are stronger; and in settings where education is more gender equitable, economic growth is more robust.
Child Marriage and Early Childbirth: One out of seven girls in developing countries marries before age 15; 38 percent marry before age 18. In addition, one-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year and most of them have complications during child-birth. With regards to health, research shows that 75 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female. This figure has risen from 62 percent in 2001.
- International Center for Research on Women, Girls’ Education, Empowerment and Transitions to adulthood: The case for a shared agenda, (2012) www.icrw.org/
- Population Reference Bureau, DataFinder database, http://www.prb.org/datafinder.aspx; accessed January 20, 2011
- Population Council, “Transitions to Adulthood: Child Marriage/Married Adolescents,” www.popcouncil.org/ta/mar.html; updated May 13, 2011