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It is universally acknowledged that education is an important aspect of life, for both genders, from all walks of life. In developing countries though, where many communities consider boys to be superior, it could be far more beneficial to educate girls if given a choice between the two.
While the Muslim Aid child sponsorship programme aims to provide support and access to education for all sponsored children - male and female - it is interesting to know which factors contribute to and promote the empowerment of girls.
- It is a widely known fact that girls mature at a far younger age than boys, which could lead to them being able to apply their knowledge and skills sooner; thus, enabling them to develop a sustainable livelihood and escape poverty at a much earlier stage in life.
- When a girl is given an education, she is far more likely to commit to educating her own children as well as her family. This can then steer and empower an entire generation, as opposed to just one individual.
- An educated girl is better informed about pregnancy-related issues, as well as influences on her general health and that of her family. In turn, this knowledge not only reduces unplanned pregnancy rates and infant mortality rates; it can effectively result in experienced female health care providers who can better assist with childbirth and pregnancy-related care.
- Educated girls are far more likely to be aware of issues surrounding violence and abuse and are less likely to become victims of things like domestic and sexual abuse or human trafficking.
- Access to an education can increase political awareness for females; leading to better informed female leaders with increased political involvement.
There are many other important factors that endorse the importance of a girl’s education; examples include a significant reduction in childhood marriage rates, better prevention of diseases like AIDS, and combatting gender stereotyping which currently still exists in various cultures around the world today.
Education and knowledge are, by far, the most powerful weapons known to mankind. It is a fundamental factor in being able to make a valuable and substantial difference in the world.
This is not to say that more girls should be provided with an education than boys. Rather, it is a reminder to recognise the importance of equality across both genders – especially in communities where women are seen as the weaker gender.
One reason for such gender stereotyping could be the stronger physical attributes of a male. However, it could be argued that women are more emotionally and intellectually advanced, able to nurture a family or community singlehandedly. Education should, therefore, be accessible to both males and females in equal measure.
For further information on contributing towards child sponsorship with Muslim Aid, click here, or alternatively, give our team a call on 020 7377 4200.