Globally it is believed that ensuring girls stay in school is one of the most effective ways to prevent child marriage. During all my community engagements and development work in South Asia with adolescent girls it got proven that Education empowers women to overcome discrimination. I heard girls mentioning that they have tremendous pressure from parents to get married. Those who were married and recalled how a small decision could have changed their lives mentioned that education is very important for a young girl as it makes her very independent education is very important to a girl, as it makes her very independent, and gives her a chance to stand on her own feet. The society looks down on girls, who are not educated, and takes them for granted and treats them badly. An educated woman is respected. Parents of a girl child are not very supportive in educating her. Whereas they think it is important to educate the boy child, so that he can grow up, get a job and support the family.
Education is very important to a girl, as it makes her very independent, and gives her a chance to stand on her own feet. The society looks down on girls, who are not educated, and takes them for granted and treats them badly. An educated woman is respected. Parents of a girl child are not very supportive in educating her. Whereas they think it is important to educate the boy child, so that he can grow up, get a job and support the family.
These girls are most vulnerable to getting pressurized by their families to drop out of school. According to the Education for All campaign one in seven girls have children before age 17 in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. In these regions, 10% fewer girls would become pregnant if they all had primary education, and 59% fewer would if they all had secondary education. This would result in around 2 million fewer early births.
1.8 billion young people are a powerful force, individually and collectively. They are shaping social and economic realities, challenging norms and values, and building the foundation of the world’s future. Never before have there been so many young people.
Adolescent girls and young women who are educated have greater awareness of their rights, and greater confidence and freedom to make decisions that affect their lives. Keeping girls in schools and letting them make important decisions in their communities.
If all girls completed primary school in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, the number of girls getting married by age 15 would fall by 14%; with secondary education, 64% fewer girls would get married. In Ethiopia, for example, while almost one in three young women with no education were married by the age of 15 in 2011, only 9% were married among women with secondary education. Because of the weakness or absence of legal sanctions on child marriage, other approaches are being tried, including those aimed at keeping girls in school and working with community members to change norms around early marriage and childbearing. This is where strategic leadership models come into place to signify the importance of building leadership on a foundation of education, involving boys and men deliberately to be apart of the plan, changing social norms, attitudes and behaviors to support girls’ rights. I always wondered how change will happen in the next decade if don’t have such a plan. Would the development goals for education, public policies, international agreements and conventions all get diluted one day? It never will! – since every discussion of overcoming poverty requires an acknowledgment of education as a basic human right and as an important driver of social and economic development. It gives us hope of keep moving forward to build capacities, knowledge and the developing a real stamina for making transparent changes.