Investment in the education of girls may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.
-Lawrence Summers, Economist
Educating girls has a multiplier effect. Educated women tend to be healthier, actively participate in the workforce, earn more and are likely to provide better healthcare and education to their children. So it’s easy to say that if we want to create a positive impact on the world, we have to work at getting girls back to school and learning better.
Education impacts girls, their families, their communities and therefore their nations and the world at large. If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG | Global Goals spearheaded by the United Nations), educating girls plays a very important role in getting there. As half the population of the world, girls have to be integrated into every goal.
Educating girls is an effective strategy to achieve practically every SDG. It is an effective way to tackle even climate change as an educated girl will not only be empowered to lead an earth-friendly lifestyle herself, but also influence her family to do the same.
Economically speaking, every 1% increase in women with a secondary education yields an increase of 0.3 percentage points in the country’s annual per capita income growth rate. So for instance, if India had a 1% increase of the number of girls studying in secondary school, its GDP would increase by $5.5 billion! Furthermore, looking holistically at the opportunity cost of not investing in girls, the total missed GDP growth is between 1.2% and 1.5. Now there’s a multiplier effect of educating girls!
In addition to helping the economy, the planet and the society at large, education can empower a girl to take back her power to make her own life decisions. 15 million girls marry before they are 18 years old every day. Many eventually become mothers soon after. An educated girl, however, is likelier to marry 4 years later and send her own children to school.
Every prospective therefore starts with education. The world has over 130 million potential leaders who are not in school today. Lets bring them to school.
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Data Sources: World Bank, UNESCO.