By Cassidy Rich
31 million. 32 million. 25 percent. One-third. Without any other information these numbers mean nothing to us. But when we put faces to the numbers and humanize the facts, suddenly these become so much more important to us females.
If you are currently pursuing a degree, you know what it is like to get bogged down with essays, tests, work, friendships, and activities. Before we know it we are stressed out of our minds and questioning the meaning of life and whether or not what we are doing is truly worth it.
Let me tell you that getting an education is beyond worth it. Believe me, I wanted to drop out of college when I was a sophomore because I was tired. Tired of the stress and pressure to excel while also staying healthy, maintaining friendships, finding a job/internship, and participating in campus activities. If it was not for my closest friends pushing me to continue, I honestly do not know where I would be today.
But why is all of this worth it? Because getting an education is a blessing and privilege that we can use to help others. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) “an estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013” (“Girls’,” 2015, para.1).
Sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia have some of the worst educational systems for girls, if the system exists at all. In these regions of the world boys are often given priority when it comes to education because many families cannot afford to send all their children to school. UNICEF stated: “Girls’ education is essential to the achievement of quality learning relevant to the 21st century, including girls’ transition to and performance in secondary school and beyond. Adolescent girls that attend school delay marriage and childbearing, are less vulnerable to disease including HIV and AIDS, and acquire information and skills that lead to increased earning power.
Evidence shows that the return to a year of secondary education for girls correlates to a 25 per cent increase in wages later in life” (“Girls’,” 2015, para. 3). When girls are educated the whole society benefits, leading to flourishing families, economic systems, and governments.
UNICEF also reported that in the developing world one-third of girls under the age of 20 are already mothers of at least one child. Not only that, sufficient numbers of women in the field of teaching are lacking (“Girls’,” 2015).
Ladies, it is time we stepped up. Next time you feel like complaining about the stress of college and everything else that comes with it, think of the girls on the other side of the world who would give anything to get an education. Think of how you can be an inspiration to those girls by earning your degree and fighting for the education of females. What we have is not ours to keep, but to give away as a blessing to others.
From the Author: “I am currently a senior at Grand Canyon University, double majoring in History and Communications and graduating in December 2016. I love writing and putting my thoughts on paper, so I am hoping that when I graduate I can work for a company or organization in a position that requires a significant amount of writing. I currently write for my university’s chapter of Her Campus, an online forum for female college students.”
Girls’ education and gender equality. (2015) Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_70640.html