On International Day of the Girl, Proof that Education is Power

Today, the International Day of the Girl, is an important day as the international community recognizes the rights of girls and the unique challenges girls face around the world – Published on National Geographic/newswatch, by Kakenya Ntaiya, Oct 11, 2013.

This year’s theme is “innovating for girls’ education.” Why education? Education is one of the most powerful tools an individual can have, and for a girl the benefits are enormous. An educated girl will delay marriage, she is more likely to have fewer children, her children are more likely to go to school, and she will contribute to the economy of her country.

Around the world 61 million children are denied the right to a basic education, and of that number 60 percent are girls. Where are these girls? 

Many are forced to undergo female genital cutting and they are married off. Every year 14 millions girls are married as children, and they end up in vicious cycle where girl’s dreams are never realized because they’re married off at a tender age.

Girls face enormous challenges when it comes to accessing education. They are at high risk of rape and sexual harassment to and from school, they lack latrines and sanitary resources, they are forced to stay home during their menstrual periods, and at home they play the role of a mother by raising their younger siblings, cooking for the family, collecting firewood, fetching water, and many more.

In communities like ours in the Maasai region of Kenya, where girls are married off at a tender age of puberty, education is never a priority. Their dreams are crushed.

Five years ago when we started the Kakenya Center for Excellence, girls in our community did not even know that they had the right to go to school. They did not know that female genital cutting is against the law. They did not know that there are laws that protected them from being forced to marry before they are 18 years old … //

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Links about AlterNet/Education:

6 Ways Neoliberal Education Reform May Be Destroying a College Near You, by Owen Davis, Oct 7, 2013: Higher ed is on the verge of falling victim to the same neoliberal ideology as K-12 …;

Class in the Classroom: Why Middle-Income Students Are Being Left in the Dust, by Gail Robinson, Oct 4, 2013: It’s well known that wealthy kids outperform poor kids in school, but now the rich are also pulling away from their middle-class peers. Why is that so? …;

The Central Issue at the Heart of America’s Growing Education Gap, by Paul L. Thomas, Ed.D., Oct 3, 2013: It’s time for some new thinking about how to address the persistent inequalities that plague our education system …;

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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