Imagine living in a world where almost half of the young girls in the world do not go to school.
Imagine living in a world where a young girl doesn’t finish her education because she is pregnant.
Imagine living in a world where the absence education of women is not a problem.
Now stop imagining and start realizing–this is the world we live in.
In developing countries all over the world women still are not getting a proper education, which directly impacts themselves, and indirectly impacts the world around them. In Somalia, 95 percent of girls have never been to school, and in nations like Niger and Liberia that number is 70 percent.
Dr. Beverly Bryde, Cabrini’s dean of education, experienced this social justice issue first hand.
“My experience in Swaziland was difficult in discovering the lack of a solid education for all children,” Bryde said. “We all know that access to education is the key to assisting people out of poverty.”
The impact of a girl’s education is crucial to her own survival and the entire development of the nation. A woman in a developing nation can positively alter her life by staying in school longer. For each year a woman stays in school, her first child is delayed by 10 months. Delaying pregnancies also ceases childbirth, which can actually save the girl’s life because younger mothers are more likely to die in child labor.
The education of a women impacts the demographic of the family, which is especially important in developing worlds. If a family has more children, they tend to spend more money, need more food, struggle to find a place for everyone to live comfortable, have a hard time getting all of their kids to school–the list goes on. This leads to a poverty trap. A family can never actually save money, their children cannot go to school and educate themselves so they have more babies, and the cycle continues. The poverty trap is the leading problem of why developing countries struggle to make any steps towards progress.
“In Swaziland, the culture identifies women as less important than men,” Dr. Bryde said. “Access to education and knowledge of the global situation can help these women to demand more and be able to articulate their needs such as education. When we invited several women from Swaziland to visit us at Cabrini, they were amazed by the way men treated women as their equals in the United States.”
If women spend more time in school, they are more likely to climb out of this trap. Each year of secondary education allows a woman to boost her income by 25 percent. Higher income and less children gives women in developing countries more of an opportunity have a successful life.
The importance of education goes further than making people more educated and involved in the world around them. Women especially feel more empowered and ultimately have a better chance at thriving if they are given the opportunity to stay in school.
“Education of citizens in any country can only make that country stronger,” Bryde said.