Most governments in Africa have not in any way established any sort of measurements, policies, and laws that discriminate between male and female ever since independence. But there still exists a different attitude of people in several parts of the society against women. Social, cultural beliefs and misconceptions give rise to this discrimination. Most of it can be solved by providing good and proper education to girls. Since the past few years, our country has seen some development towards girl child education but mostly at the basic levels. That is, honestly, not enough.
International Women’s Day was adopted by the UN in the year 1975. It has been commemorated for more than 100 years now and yet, it seems like being born as a girl has still not found its place in different parts of the world. This article is specially intended as an approach to those who share the same goal- educating every girl child in Ghana.
What is female education?
As simple as an answer could be, sadly, it is not. Female education is a worldly term for all those issues encompassing the education for girls and women; particularly their primary, secondary, tertiary, and health education.
Female education surrounds more than just the issue of availability of education for all; but alsoincludes gender equality. It is also connected to the eradication of poverty. It also includes religious and single-sex education. In a world of co-ed, we still find a division created by religious as well as traditional teachings on education.
All these issues are strongly relevant when it comes to the debate of girl child education and the significance their education holds considering the worlds as a whole.
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Importance of female education in developing countries
Educating women is very important for not just Ghana, but every country; especially the developing ones. If we make calculations of the entire population, the count of women will turn out to be much lower than men. The answer to the age-old debate why woman education is important is briefly described below:
- Eradicate poverty: Education for girls is necessary for removing poverty. One might question how women education is related to alleviating poverty. Well, it is simple; women will be able to share the huge burden of suppressing poverty. Education means more productivity.
- Justice: A girl who is well-informed of her rights is less prone to injustice. For instance, child-marriage, prostitution, and dowry can be denied and declined.
- Honor and dignity: Women are looked down upon by many men. Although that has changed a little over the years, there is much more to go. An educated woman will get the same respect as a man. She will become the source of inspiration for the youth which in turn will lead to an increase in their interest in education.
- Economic empowerment: Education also relates to the economy. Girls who lack education are dependent on men and fail to unleash their potential. Economic independence and empowerment can only be achieved by the means of education.
- Economic development: Ever wondered if women could be a boost towards our country’s economic development? Double the progress is achieved, when double the people work for the nation’s betterment. Let the girls be educated; let them contribute towards Ghana’s advancement.
- A better life: Education is a major source for establishing an identity. Educating a girl will undoubtedly improve her life. She will never lose her identity and she will be able to read and learn about her rights and duties. One who knows their rights would not let themselves get trodden with. Education can help girls achieve this.
- Better health: It is clearly known how uneducated people are not aware of the significance of health and hygiene. Educating girls are going to put an end to the ignorance. They will be able to lead a healthy life.
- Make the right choice: Many women have become examples for us over the world. It became possible because they did what they wanted to do. Most of them are well-educated and brilliant at the things they do. A girl-child should be given equal educational opportunities so that she can decide which line of work she wants to choose. The better the education, the higher the ambition. Imagine a country filled with doctors, nurses, engineers, writers, web-developers, celebrities. This is not even the start of the list considering the abundant number of professions available now.
In case you were reading into importance of girl child education out of genuine interest, you should know that inequality is what stands as the core reason behind girls lacking in terms of education.
Challenges of girl child education in Ghana
The factors obstructing education for girls have many different aspects and are interrelated. We can categorize three groups of factors which are the reason for gender gaps in terms of basic education in Ghana. They are-
- Macro-level school-related
Although, it can be easily said that the barriers to female education involve the society and culture; what do we think are the main reasons behind such unfairness? I will try to explain and help you understand why many girls are unable to get the quality education they require.
Below are six challenges that must be overcome to stabilize the differentiation of providing equal education to all.
- The distance to school: There are so many people who struggle to go to school because the nearest one is hours away. For a country that is still paving its way towards development, it can become really hard for a family to send their daughters to school; in fear of being subjected to violence or danger along the way.
- The cost of education: We can cover the challenge of distance issues with the availability of vehicles but the issues related to costs are even harder to take care of. Education should be free for all but there is a lot of money involved in this barricade. The cost of books, uniforms, and bus fares are pretty much for a poverty-stricken family.
- Gender-related issues: We cannot accept the fact that girls are made to do most of the household chores. They are the ones who are asked to clean the house, get water, take care of the younger children, and help their mother cook. This gender norm is a big challenge that every household should learn to avoid.
- Violence at school: It is a shameful fact but there are schools where children are subjected to different kinds of violence; sometimes it is the students, sometimes teachers. No parent would want their children to undergo any forms of violence; and if a family somehow manages to send their daughter to school and learn about such incidents, they will take their children out of it.
- Early marriage/ pregnancy: In many places, girls are subjected to early marriage. Even if a girl is sent to school, they are taken out at an early age; when they are still developing. Many girls leave school because of pre-mature marriages and pregnancies. Most girls, after getting pregnant feel discouraged to rejoin school out of fear of being judged.
- Poverty: Speaking of poverty, in several parts of the country, the health of the children is an unavoidable issue. Health becomes a crucial issue when the children are living in a family which suffers from poverty. Lack of hygiene and proper nourishment can keep children down and away from education.
The next time someone starts a debate female education is more important than male education, you will have enough from this article to support your topic.
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5 ways to help a girl get a proper education
Girls have been, and still even now, facing various modes of inequalities that occur due to social, cultural, political, religious, and economic factors. So much, after women have proven to be more than just the means to an end, not just for families and society, but the entire human population as a whole.
This negative attitude towards women is what limits most of them from getting educational opportunities. Education is a fundamental right which is meant for every country in the world. Every individual has the right to education. Here are five ways to overcome some of the challenges:
- Changing a family’s attitude: In order to promote an optimistic attitude towards girl education, the communities and the families need to get lessons on gender awareness. Parents can be brought together for open discussions related to their mindset and the gender stereotypes. This can help them understand better by learning the other approach towards educating a girl. Just a regular girl child education speech does not always get the job done.
- Teaching gender equality to the males: Education is meant for everyone, so is gender equality. It does not matter if it is a boy, a man, a girl, or a woman. Since men are thought as superior, they should be educated about gender equality properly from when they are little. This will be a huge step towards changing the mindset.
- Equal education: It is seen that many girls, who are sent to primary school, do not make it to secondary school because the families believe that the basic education they have been provided is enough. This stands as a big obstacle for the girls because they miss education when the stage is just right for them to start thinking of a career ahead.
- Obliterating violence in schools: Violence in schools need to be demolished for there is no bigger shame then savage behavior at a place we are sent to learn good things from. Clearly, some people do not think that way and get down to notorious means of violence. Such occurrences should be totally prevented in order to build a safe and comfortable environment for both boys and girls to read, write and play together.
- Awareness campaign: The mindset of people cannot be changed easily. We can try but the process takes time. One of the best ways to initiate change is through social awareness campaigns. It is a very helpful step towards bringing to light the significance of educating girls. The He 4 She campaign by the President is a great start but we need more of such campaigns from every government.
Taking care of all the above-mentioned factors will make it easier for a family to send a girl to school.
Benefits of girls education
Unfortunately, many people are blind to the benefits that can come from educating girls. Educated women have the confidence, information, and the skills required to make a better citizen, worker, and parent.
Educated women will likely avoid getting married at an early age; this will also lead to conceiving fewer children. According to studies, a year extra of schooling for girls lessens the fertility rate by 5-10%. The children of mothers, who have had proper education, are more likely to survive.
Women are more productive at work and are also better-paid. Studies show that schooling for an extra year raises the future earnings of a woman by approximately 15% whereas it is 11% in case of a man.
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Girl child education slogans you could use in a campaign
Maybe you are a supporter of female awareness programs; maybe you are working on an awareness campaign. In either case, you may need good slogans which can enhance the message you are trying to convey. You could try some of these:
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
“Girls are the spirit of our nation. Save them and stop their exploitation.”
“Give them wings so that they can fly. Please don’t give them the pain to cry.”
“Girls are the pillars of our nation. Nurture them, educate them; let them show you what they can.”
Those who have profited from education can help promote the advantages of education; keeping in mind the possible impacts on the society which will come from the transformation of women via education. It can be achieved well by working together with Girl’s Education Unit as they provide funds for it. You can also work with other similar institutions. Girl child education is a necessity that needs to be provided by both the governments as well as the society to each and every girl in Ghana and drive our nation towards being a welfare state. If you ever come across the question “Should women be educated?” you know what to say.