The United Nations has declared today the International Day of the Girl Child in recognition of the importance of educating girls in helping individuals, families, communities and nations.
Educating Malala and others like her:
75 million girls across the world are not at school.
Date: October 11 2012
According to the CEO of Plan International Australia, Ian Wishart, girls face a series of unique challenges.
“One of the most serious and pressing is in the area of education,” he said.
“Millions of girls across the world are learning only what they need to survive. They deserve to be learning more than this. They deserve our support to move from poverty to opportunity.”
“The global emphasis on the Millennium Development Goals has helped to achieve the objective of equal enrolment of girls and boys in primary schools around the world. But it’s in keeping girls at school, particularly when they reach the transition from primary to secondary school, that things fall apart. There are currently 39 million girls aged 11 to 15 who are not in school.
“The world needs to do more to ensure that all girls complete at least nine years of quality education. If we can achieve this, it will have a remarkable effect on their life opportunities and help to move them, their families and their communities out of poverty.”
Plan International has launched a global ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign and is asking all Australians to raise their hand in support of girls’ education via their Facebook page.
“The more we draw attention to this issue the better placed we are to put in place programs that ensure girls receive a quality education and a better start to adult life.”
Mr Wishart says the facts show that educated girls are empowered girls who can transform their own lives and the world around them. For example:
• Each additional year of secondary school has the potential to raise a girl’s future income by 15 to 25 per cent.
• When mothers can read, their child is 50 per cent more likely to survive past age five.
• HIV/AIDS rates are halved among women who complete primary education.
• Girls with secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to marry as children, making education one of the best strategies for protecting girls from child marriage.
Meanwhile, 14 year old Year 8 student, Malala Yousufzai of Pakistan, was attacked by the Taliban at point blank range for wanting to be educated and for blogging about life under the Taliban using a pseudonym.
Malala is in a critical condition. Leaders such as Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations, President Barack Obama and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the action. The Taliban has vowed to strike again if she dares speak out.
Her father has said his family will not leave Pakistan.
“We have an ideology that advocates peace. The Taliban cannot stop all independent voices through the force of bullets.”
It may be only a small gesture, but now is a good as day as any to show your support for the right to education for girls throughout the world.