What Education Means For Girls in Developing Nations

As privileged Americans, we often forget about the struggles facing individuals in other countries. We are lucky enough to live in a country where we constantly have access to clean water, where women have an equal right to education, and where we don't have to worry about overcoming discriminatory class systems. However, these issues still face many individuals in developing nations, especially women.


In various countries in South America, Africa, and parts of Asia, women are being sent off to marry men twice their age before reaching the age of 18. For example, according to the Girls Not Brides foundation, 30% of girls in Chad are married before the age of 15 (2018). However, marrying young is just the first step in the process of a long line of discrimination for these young women. After marriage, young girls become pregnant, some by the age of 15. If the girl survives childbirth, she faces the possibility of having to sell her body to make extra money to pay for childcare expenses. Through this terrible line of work, many women become subject to contracting sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. Although this scenario may seem hypothetical and extreme, this is the reality many girls in developing nations face. The chain of discrimination only continues as the children of these girls grow up in uneducated and poor families, eventually following the paths of their mothers. 

However, there is a way to stop this problem. Through educating women in developing countries, women obtain the means needed to become empowered individuals. Educating women qualifies them for more job opportunities, so they can ultimately achieve economic independence. Through achieving economic independence, girls will no longer need to be sold to strange men to ensure they are clothed and fed. Women will have the power to choose if they want to marry and start families, ultimately preventing a cycle of abuse throughout the rest of their lives.


Not only will providing women with more opportunities for education help them feel empowered and prevent cycles of abuse, but it will also help progress underdeveloped countries. Educating women will provide them with the skills needed to become productive members of society, and contribute to the economic development of the country. It is no wonder these countries have such a hard time progressing when half of their population is performing house and farm work. We need to give women the power to make a difference in their communities, cities, and countries so that they can help create a better future for the entire country.

It is time we do something to help. Organizations such as The Girl Effect and Circle of Sisterhood are actively working to counteract this cycle of abuse by raising awareness of women's issues in developing countries. These organizations raise funds which are then used to provide girls with school supplies and build female-only schools. Although these projects might sound expensive, schools in developing nations are far more simplistic than the schools we experience in America, and often require very small sums of money to fund schools. As women of higher education, we need to recognize our privilege. Our typical morning dilemma is waking up early enough to make it to class, while many young girls in developing nations face the dilemma of waking up next to strange men. Education in America empowers women and provides women with opportunities to become independent. Some women are less fortunate, simply as a result of the location where they were born. It is time that we as women recognize our privilege and take active steps to aid other women. It is time that we, as empowered women, empower women.


Photo credit: Cover, 1, 2