Invest in educating our girls
Educating women strengthens economies and increases the quality of their lives
However, women’s education doesn’t just stand to strengthen the economy, it also increases the equitability of the distribution of wealth in a society. Increased women’s education is important for achieving this as it targets impoverished women, a particularly disadvantaged group; with evidence showing that lower gender disparity in educational attainment for a developing country correlates with lower income disparity in society.
Some of the significant social developments women’s education leads to, according to Harvard academic Martha Nussbaum, include decreased fertility rates, lower infant mortality rates, lower maternal mortality rates, increased gender equality, improved cognitive abilities and increased quality of life for women.
One example of this, as cited by scholar Nails Kabeer, is the fact that educated women are better able to make decisions related to health, both for themselves and their children and are less likely to accept domestic violence regardless of other social status indicators like employment status.
Cognitive abilities also translate to increased political participation among women. Educated women are more likely to engage in civic participation and attend political meetings, and there are several instances in which educated women in the developing world were able to secure benefits for themselves through political movements.
The development of women in structures and institutions of power in democratic governments is most likely to occur when young girls and women are well-educated and are able to utilise this education to further liberate themselves and contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.
Everybody has a role to play in the success of our nation, the disenfranchisement of women only means fewer people to advance the cause. We need to shift the way we see women and girls in South Africa and recognise their potential for change, even outside the month of August.
Seabe is a black radical feminist writer who was actively involved in #FeesMustFall protests, and is currently
enrolled in the ASRI: Future Leaders Programme
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