To educate is to empower
“The ability to read, write, and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table—all of that starts with education.”
–Michelle Obama, Let Girls Learn speech, International Women’s Day 2016
“Boko Haram sees girls’ education as a threat simply because they are aware of the tremendous potential and power of an educated girl.”
–Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, a longtime Global Fund for Women advisor in Nigeria
Malala Yousafzai is now a name many girls around the world know. We know mainly that she was shot by the Taliban, survived and now promotes the education of girls around the world. She was born and raised in Swat Valley, Pakistan. In 2007, the Taliban moved into her area and banned music, tv and the education of girls.
It is difficult to imagine in this country that not being able to attend school would be a bad thing-especially on a Monday when so many children would rather stay home, but could you truly imagine not being allowed to learn because you are a girl. Think about what you do learn every day in school and if that was taken away from you what would you do? You may rejoice at first but then what? Your choices in life would be limited.
In Malala’s hometown, the Pakistani army fought the Taliban and in 2009 girls were allowed to attend school again. Malala spoke out publicly against the Taliban in 2011 because she believes strongly in the right for girls’ education. In 2012, a masked gunman entered Malala’s school bus and shot her in the head. Miraculously she survived and was flown to the UK for treatment and protection. Most people may have been deterred from speaking out after this horrific incident, but Malala used her new public platform to continue speaking out for the importance of girls’ education.
Facts about education
- Education teaches people to think for themselves, to expand their minds and allow freedom to make their own decisions.
- When young people are banned from getting an education it is easier to control them.
- 65 Million girls worldwide are not in school
- Somalia: 95% of the poorest females in Somalia have not been to school. Somalia has been in civil war for nearly 20 years which has neagatively effected the education system. Often safety concerns make parents hesitant to send girls to school.
- Niger: 78% of the poorest females in Niger have not attended school. Only an estimated 31% of Nigerien girls go to primary school, and a less than 8% attend secondary school. Poverty is a main reason girls are not sent to school. Boys are often given priority. Early marriages cause many Nigerien girls to drop out of School.
- Liberia: 77% of the poorest females in the nation have not gone to school, only 13% of girls from rural families complete school. The culture in Liberia embraces the education of boys more than that of girls, and the risk of sexual harassment often forces girls to quit school.