Nadine is 6 years old and when she grows up she wants to be a doctor. Helene is 7 years old and it’s clear to her that she wants to be an engineer. On the other hand, her sister Wefa dreams of becoming a teacher. Solange, 5 years old is still not sure, there are days when she wants to be a lawyer and others when she talks about being the first astronaut to set foot on Mars. She still has time to make up her mind, but today, all of them have one thing in common: their rights. However, none of them is going to have it easy to fulfill their dreams. That’s why International Girls‘ Day is so important to our calendar, but also to our efforts to improve their situation around the world.
The present of girls
A few years ago it was former United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-Moon who made it clear that what all children have in common throughout the world are their rights: “Every child has the right to survival and development, to education, to a life free from violence and abuse, to participation and to listening.
Despite considerable progress over the past two decades, the situation in low-income countries in terms of girls’ education is discouraging: less than two thirds of girls in these places complete primary school, and only one in three girls complete lower secondary school. There are around 10 million more girls in the world than boys who are not in school. The majority, 83 per cent, are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific according to UNICEF data. Education should be an essential part of their lives: on average, women who have a secondary education are more likely to work and earn almost twice as much as those who do not have an education.
The future of girls
Their future is conditioned from a very early age. These small but brave girls have to face numerous barriers since they were born exclusively because of their status as women. The most common obstacles between them and their dreams are:
- In some families, educating girls is seen as a loss of income and time that could be invested in domestic tasks such as cooking, cleaning or caring for siblings. As well as other activities that would bring benefits such as collecting food, water or fuel.
- Many low-income families prioritize the continuation of their son’s secondary education over that of their daughters because they consider them to be a greater guarantee of income when they grow up.
- In economic terms, there is a mistaken belief that marrying a daughter means eliminating a “family expense”, so in certain areas, child marriage is encouraged rather than education. In these cases it is the husband who has the decision on the education of his wife and almost always receives a negative response.
- The same is true of teenage pregnancy caused by this type of early marriage. Girls have been involved in this situation since they were very young, thus missing out on the opportunity to go to school.
- At other times, it is the schools that are not sufficiently prepared with sanitation facilities, clean water and private toilets. There are areas where girls with the menstruation have to stay at home until the period ends due to lack of equipment.
- The discrimination because of the cultural and social conventions and expectations to which they are subject. In some societies this is perpetuated to the point where it is not considered necessary to educate girls.
But they are much wrong. The cost of not educating girls is very high. According to a new report published by the World Bank, the limitations on girls‘ opportunities to study cost countries between 15 and 30 billion dollars in lost productivity. The low level of education of girls in these countries is bad not only for them, but also for their children and their household economy, as well as for their society and their country as a whole.
However, the benefits of the momentum of educated girls for the world are very positive and revolve around different domains:
- Increased earnings and quality of life.
- Delay in child marriage and early motherhood.
- It slows massive population growth as a consequence.
- Improved health, nutrition and well-being through better training.
- Greater involvement in decision-making and greater consideration of informed opinions.
- Increased independence and inclusion in the economy.
- And above all: greater freedom.
There are many women and men who have come together so that these positive changes happen. But also more and more girls like Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai are also raising their voices loudly so that the rest of the world can hear them and join them.
Malala, la niña que quería ir a la escuela
Malala’s story began in Pakistan. At the age of eleven, she began blogging about the growing military activity in her home village and the fear that her school would be attacked. In 2012 he was shot for opposing Taliban restrictions on women’s education in his home country of Pakistan, becoming the symbol of the struggle to promote girls‘ right to education. Together with her father, she founded the Malala Fund so that anyone who wanted to could contribute to this cause. It was she, the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who used her speech to launch this message:
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”. - Malala
Being part of change is not a matter of being a man or a woman, but of being aware that girls and boys deserve an equal, diverse and quality education. We can all spread messages of peace, promote integration, education and solidarity. Being part of change is in your hand!
In Moneytrans we want to contribute by spreading some initiatives that promote education, women’s empowerment and global integration, and we are open to collaborate. We’re not just one money transfer company, we’re many more. Discover all the actions we take and JOIN OUR CHALLENGES!