FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Girls’ Education is Key To Alleviate Poverty

by

Inequality and unequal access to education holds millions of girls and women back across the world. While the “gender gap” in education has narrowed over the past decade, girls are still at a disadvantage, particularly in getting access to high school education. And women still constitute two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population.

This gender gap is generally wider at higher levels of schooling. According to some estimates, women in South Asia, for example, have only half as many years of education as men, and female enrollment rates at the high-school level are two-thirds that of males.

Within countries, gender disparity is greater among the poor, and in some countries the disparity continues among the poor even after they have disappeared among the wealthier sectors of the population. To be a girl from a poor family thus becomes a double disadvantage. In addition, gender bias – approaches to teaching and the degree of attention from teachers – puts girls at a further disadvantage.

Overall access to basic education has risen markedly over the past decade in many developing countries. In spite of that poor children are still less likely to attend school or be enrolled in school and more likely to repeat grades than those who come from wealthier families.

There is widespread agreement that primary school education should become universal early this century, but the differences in educational attendance and attainment according to economic status show that the poor are less likely to achieve this goal than those better off economically.

There are several reasons to explain this gap. It is harder for poor children to have easy access to schools, because schools tend to be concentrated in cities and areas where only better-off families live. Physical availability of schools, though, is not the most critical factor in most developing countries. It is important to consider not only national averages, but also how poor girls in rural areas are faring.

Although expenditures on education have increased over the past few decades in many countries, unless these resources are specifically addressed to those most vulnerable, they will tend to increase disparities rather than decrease them.

Disparities in attaining education have been attributed to ineffective school systems. Governments tend to spend less on public primary and high school education – the type of schooling that tends to benefit the poor most – during economic crises. Wars, civil conflicts, economic disruptions and epidemics alter services and affect school attendance. All these problems are likely to have a greater effect on the poor.

Elimination of gender bias in education is particularly important when the level of education of parents is linked to their children’s educational attainment. Several studies have shown that educating mothers is more important than educating fathers to increase the chances of their children’s success.

In addition, a great deal of evidence shows the benefits of women’s schooling not only for their children’s to attain education, but also for their health, nutrition and survival. Immunization rates among children of educated mothers, for example, have been consistently higher than those of uneducated mothers.

Educated girls can develop essential life skills, including self-confidence, the ability to participate effectively in society, and the capacity to better protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and sexual exploitation. In addition, several studies have shown that educated women not only have fewer children but also have better economic prospects themselves. Girls’ education not only empowers them, but also is considered the best investment in a country’s development.

Several factors indicate that special attention must be paid to the poor. Poor women are more likely to die during pregnancy or at childbirth. Increased expenditures on education for the poorer sections of society yields better returns in productivity, income and economic growth. In contrast, inequality in the distribution of education has held down economic growth and per capita income in many countries.

Taking measures to alleviate poverty has become an urgent global priority. And one of the best ways to reduce poverty is to increase the educational level of the poor, particularly the girls among them.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail