DIRECTORATE OF GENDER, GIRL-CHILD EMPOWERMENT AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING MATTERS, NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL OF NIGERIA (NYCN).
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2019: EMPHASIZED ON THE IMPORTANT OF GIRL CHILD EDUCATION TO THE SOCIETY ESPECIALLY IN THE DEVELOPING NATIONS.
The Director of the Directorate of Gender, Girl-child Empowerment and Human Trafficking Matters Amb. Eze Nnedinso Patience has called on government at all levels to help in the fight against gender related issues as the girl children are mostly at the disadvantage both at home and in the society, as most of them are not empowered educationally and otherwise.
Speaking on the theme of 2019 International Youth by UN “Transforming Education” the Director enumerated the benefits of girl child education and the positive impact on the development of the society. She stated that girl child education will not only reduce child and mother mortality rate but it will greatly increase the growth in economy there by reducing poverty which is prevalent in developing nations.
IMPORTANCE OF GIRL-CHILD EDUCATION
It is often said that when you educate a woman you educate a nation. Education is the process of impacting, learning and gaining skills, knowledge, morals & behaviour based on preventive and palliative measures.
Education offers knowledge and skills that are aimed at enlightening women and girls in the society. It includes schools, vocational training, college, technical, and professional and health education. It enables the girl-child to realize her full potential to think, ask questions and judge independently. It enables her to make wise decision as well as develop sense of belonging by learning how to respect, love one another and become a useful member of the society. The lack of education denies the girl child knowledge and skills needed to advance their status.
The importance or advantages of educating the girl child are as follows:
1. Good for Communities
An educated woman with increased earning potential is more likely to give back to the community than her male counterparts. Educated women tend to value compassion, empathy and community engagement. The Late Dora Okunyili’s legacy of sanitizing the Food and drug administration and sending the cartel of fake drug dealers out of business in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.
2. Enhances Economic Growth
Perhaps the most obvious of the advantages of female education is the potential for economic growth. According to the World Bank, women see a 25 percent increase in wages later in life with only one year of secondary education. Female education even affects gross domestic product, with a rise of 0.3 percentage points per percentage point increase in female education participation. When women are educated, the entire economy grows and thrives.
3. Decreased Chance of Abuse by Delaying Marriage and Child Bearing
Educated women are much less likely to suffer domestic abuse than their illiterate counterparts. In more traditional developing households, women are viewed as domestic commodities existing in the home and for the home, only to leave when married off to a new household. Investing in girls’ education delays early marriage and parenthood; if every girl in the developing nations is educated at least up to secondary school level, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.
4. Decreased Child and Mother Mortality Rates
Educated women are more likely to marry later in life, pushing back the age that they have their first child. When women have children later in life, specifically past age 18, women are more likely to survive the potentially dangerous first birth. Furthermore, educated women are often more knowledgeable about children’s nutrition, proper sanitation practices and medical care. The Center for Global Development estimated that 1.8 million children’s lives could have been saved if their mothers had completed secondary school.
5. Inter-generational Success
More educated mothers mean fewer mother and child deaths and illnesses. The loss of a mother can be disastrous for the chances of her children’s survival and future welfare. Furthermore, children with educated mothers are more likely to attend school and pursue higher levels of education than their peers with uneducated mothers. A cross-country study in India found women’s education has more of an impact than men’s education on children’s education. Educated women provide a better starting point for the next generation.
6. Promoting Social Inclusion
When girls are kept out of school in developing countries, they are usually working in the home on domestic chores. Girls spend 33 to 85 percent more time per day on unpaid domestic chores than boys of the same age. The seclusion from the public sphere only worsens as girls reach adolescence, as they are discouraged from pursuing activities outside the home. This social isolation of girls leads to higher levels of depression in women as well as other mental health issues. Seeking an education encourages women to develop a professional life within the public sphere, allowing them to become part of the community and develop their own identities away from the home.
7. Promoting Good Health
Children born to literate mothers are 50 percent more likely to survive past age five than children born to illiterate mothers. Children whose mothers receive secondary schooling are twice as likely to receive vaccinations against major disease, promoting better health outcomes for the entire community. More vaccinations mean fewer chances for a disease to spread through a population. Another of the advantages of female education is the fight against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS etc.
8. Reducing Terrorism and Extremism
One of the more surprising advantages of female education is that it can work to reduce extremism and terrorism and increase security. Female education means greater female involvement in society and the economy. Educated women are less likely to support terrorism and militancy than men of the same education level. You can be sure that all the girls who were brain-washed and used for suicide bombings by Boko Haram in the North east of Nigeria were 100% illiterate.
9. Encouraging Human Rights
When women in a society are more educated, more emphasis is placed on gender equality. As women achieve equality, human rights become a strong value of communities, as women in leadership tend to fight for disenfranchised groups. Female leadership in government also becomes more common, and when women lead, women push for more equitable systems of governance.
Amb. Eze Nnedinso Patience
Directorate of Gender, Girl-Child Empowerment And Human Trafficking Matters, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN