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Why It’s Important to Educate a Girl

Over spring break, I watched the documentary Girl Rising. Girl Rising is a film focused on the obstacles nine girls faced while trying to get an education. The right to an education is not guaranteed in all countries. The girls in the documentary are from Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. The best part is that Girl Rising is not just a documentary, it's a campaign.

Sixty-two million girls do not have the right to an education. Girl Rising uses their documentary as a form of storytelling to inform their audience that educating a girl can transform societies. The mission is to change the way the world values girls.

Here’s a short introduction to each girl in the documentary:

1. Sokha: Sokha is an orphan from Cambodia. She was forced to pick through trash in order to survive. Today, only 20% of Cambodian children attend secondary school, and only 25% of those kids are girls.

2.Wadley: Wadley was seven when there is a severe earthquake that destroyed her home and school. She is forced to live on the streets and is consistently turned away when she tries to go to school again because her family cannot pay for it. Haiti is still in recovery and being able to get an education is harder than ever.

3. Suma: Suma is forced into bonded labor at age six while her brothers are sent to school. In Nepal, girls fall far behind boys in educational opportunities.

4. Yasmin: At a young age, Yasmin is the victim of a violent attack by a man. The right to an education is not evenly distributed between girls and boys.

5. Azmera: When Azmera is thirteen she is told she must marry but she says NO. Azmera is from an Ethiopian family where her brother is also fighting for her right to an education and her right to be free.

6. Ruksana: Ruksana is from India where her family lives on the street and her father does anything he can to send his daughters to school. She lives in danger every day in order to be able to go to school.

7. Senna: Senna lives in a mining town in Peru where her family struggles. Luckily, her family insists she go to school. Illiteracy rates are more than twice as high for women as for men, and for many indigenous Peruvians, education remains unattainable.

8. Mariama: Mariama is from Sierra Leone and is the first in her family to go to school. Sierra Leone suffered a ten year civil war leaving the country among the poorest in the world. Education is a primary casualty of war. Two-thirds of adults are illiterate and only half of young girls are in primary school.  

9. Amina: Amina is a child bride and is restricted by the Afghan society. She is confined by her gender and is expected to only serve men. Afghanistan is a major conflict zone which has seriously impacted a girl's right to an education but they are undergoing a major change. More girls are in school than ever before.

Why focus on girls getting an education? By educating a young woman in one generation, the cycle of poverty can be broken. An educated girl will be more willing to stand up for their rights, have a family and children, give their children an education, and their families and communities are more likely to thrive. For some reason, though, millions of girls are facing barriers to getting an education that boys are not. By removing certain barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, and human trafficking girls would have access to a better, safer, healthier and more prosperous life for all.

There are many ways that we as Americans can help in the efforts to educate young girls all around the world. We can donate to the many organizations fighting for their right to an education, show film screenings to make people more aware of what is happening all over the world, and volunteer your time. Most importantly, we can join the movement. Why is it important for us to join the movement? Around the world we could have more generations of educated families, a decreased infant mortality rate, a decreased maternal mortality rate, a decrease in the amount of child marriages, a decrease in domestic and sexual violence, an improvement in socioeconomic growth, and many others. But, America also has some education problems that need to be fixed. Education problems in America can be linked to classroom size, family involvement, the equality of the education given, funding, poverty, violence and drug use and many other factors. Let’s all join the fight to end the perpetuation of these issues by prioritizing women’s education.

Make sure to check out Girl Rising for more information!


Image Credit: Girl Rising


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