66 million girls have NO access to education across the world (UNESCO)
|Girls attend class at a school in Mingora, the main town of Swat valley in Pakistan. Mingora, Pakistan, 2013|
Education is one of the blessings of life—and one of its necessities. That has been my experience during the 17 years of my life. In my paradise home, Swat, I always loved learning and discovering new things. I remember when my friends and I would decorate our hands with henna on special occasions. And instead of drawing flowers and patterns we would paint our hands with mathematical formulas and equations.
We had a thirst for education, we had a thirst for education because our future was right there in that classroom. We would sit and learn and read together. We loved to wear neat and tidy school uniforms and we would sit there with big dreams in our eyes. We wanted to make our parents proud and prove that we could also excel in our studies and achieve those goals, which some people think only boys can.
But things did not remain the same. When I was in Swat, which was a place of tourism and beauty, suddenly changed into a place of terrorism. I was just ten that more than 400 schools were destroyed.
Women were flogged. People were killed. And our beautiful dreams turned into nightmares.
Education went from being a right to being a crime.
Girls were stopped from going to school.
— Malala Yousafzai, 17 years old, Noble Peace Winner, 2014— a young girl who spoke out about the rights of education for all girls and was shot as a consequence of her words.
Two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female. (UNESCO)
Education for girls is as important as education for boys. In third world nations, those women who are educated are less likely to died in childbirth and their babies are more likely to survive. Educating women around the world has had a critical affect on society—it has saved lives and it has brought many women out of poverty, it has reduced malnutrition and it has a positive impact on the health of all family members.
No matter where a girl lives, she should have access to all levels of education if she so wishes to attend. Girls should not be restricted to basic education just because their parents believe her only future is at home raising children. Both the Talaban and ISIS believe that girls should not be educated because they do not need an education as a housewife or mother. The Talaban and ISIS fear women who have been educated as the lack of education controls the position of women in society—at the bottom of the pile.This isn't new, men have used education as a method of control for centuries and strongly believed that women were incapable of education like men as our brains were wired differently.
Just because a woman becomes a wife and mother should not restrict or limit her education. Girls should have access to further education if they so wish, if they want to study science or medicine or mathamatics or engineering or teaching — girls and boys alike should be allow to follow their dreams. Just because I am a girl doesn't mean I shouldn't be allow to access education as my brothers have. I am thankful that I have been able to access university, that I live in a country that believes in the rights of education for girls and in fact encourages girls to attend and that my parents believe strongly in education for both their sons and daughters.
Don't limit your daughters education to only those things she might need "at home", let her discover and learn about things she is interested in — it may include activities that are not traditionally aimed at girls. Why can't a girl learn about biology, medicine, construction, animal welfare if she finds it interesting.
No education is ever wasted even if the girl never uses her education in a workplace.
What we learn is used throughout of lives.
Even if a woman gets married and decides to not use her studies in a professional manner, what she has learnt will always be useful.
Whilst higher education (university/college) is important, education can come from many different sources. Maybe a certificate course or two at a local community college — home economics, community care, older aged nursing, nutrition, community nursing, IT, graphic design, sewing, animal care to name a few. These are often far more practical courses and perfect for any young woman who wishes to remain at home once married. They could complete a number of these courses and all would be useful later in life.
But never look at higher education as a waste of time or money when it comes to your daughters. They are not second-class citizens and remember they are the ones teaching the next generation. We don't want the same mindset as the Talaban and ISIS when it comes to education and girls.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
~ William Bulter Yeats ~