World Wonder

Inspiring Global Citizenship

Human Right? Privilege? Both?

on August 27, 2014
A group of children smiling

Cheerful girl amongst the boys (South Africa 2010)

For many young people around the world the first day of school can be an exhilarating, slightly scary, much anticipated day! I am having a blast watching my daughter get so excited about school, toting around her backpack proudly, meeting new friends, learning the new rules of her classroom, sitting with the big kids in the cafeteria, and getting exposed to the many people and resources that will play a huge role in her future learning.

I also recently watched a TED talk by Shabana Basij-Rasikh about her plight to educate Afghan girls (by the way, TED Ed is a fantastic resource for incorporating multi-media and hot topic discussions in the classroom). The dichotomy of watching how excited Skye is about school and the battle that millions of girls are faced with every day just to get access to basic education is one of those topics that as a woman makes my inner soul enraged!

One of the things that I believe as Americans we often take for granted, is that we live in a country where access to education is a human right. And what I think of as a privilege as well. According to Care International:

  • 31 million girls are currently out of school.
  • A woman’s earnings will be 10-20% higher for every year of school completed.
  • Children with educated mothers are 2 times as likely to go to school.
  • Some 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries acquired basic reading skills.
  • Over the past four decades, the global increase in women’s education has prevented more than 4 million child deaths.
  • Some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls at the same level as boys.
  • Getting all children into basic education, while raising learning standards, could boost growth by 2% annually in low income countries.

So why does this matter? I think that here in the U.S. we can be an influencer. We can demonstrate to those countries that deny girls access to education based on their gender to think differently. To educate girls can only bring positive. Studies show that when boys AND girls are included in education, nations gain economically, politically, and socially.   It only makes sense. Women make up 51% of the world population. If nations exclude half of their population from getting an education I can only imagine their national economy, security and social landscape will suffer as well. I think we can influence other nations to consider changing their ways. There are thousands of organizations working globally to change this and I think every voice can make an impact. What will you do to make an impact? What can you teach your child or youth about this topic that will inspire them to act? Here are a few organizations offering some fantastic resources for learning, talking and teaching on this very important topic.



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