Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures
This year, International Women’s Day (March 8, 2012) focused on the education and empowerment of girls around the world. Karuna-Shechen also believes in the fundamental importance of educating girls and women and supports this goal through various programs such as non-formal education classes for village women, training for illiterate rural women in solar engineering, and community-based outreach and initiatives focused on helping girls attend school. The education of all children is important but providing access to education for girls and women has unique challenges as well as profound benefits.
Expected to help with the cooking, care of younger siblings, and collection of water and firewood, girls in developing countries often have a heavier workload than their male counterparts, preventing them from concentrating on their studies. Additionally, because girls are often not expected to use academic skills later in life, parents, teachers, and the girls themselves may not place enough value on their education, despite its benefits.
And the benefits are overwhelming. Fifty percent of the decline in child mortality in low-income countries over the past 40 years can be attributed to better education of girls. Countries with better gender equality are also more likely to have higher economic growth. According to the UN, “more educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labor market, earn more income, have fewer children, and provide better health care and education to their children.” This can lift entire households out of poverty and improve the well being of the whole community for generations to come.
Let’s continue to work together to elevate the status of women through increased access to education.