An African proverb says “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family and a whole nation.”
Investment in education at a global scale is a current necessity for growth and development. Education provides opportunities for both men and women through which they can have a better and healthier life. Education is a most potent driver of development and one of the strongest tools for eradicating poverty and improving gender equality. Education provides us chances to become a useful member of the society by attaining all the essential and required expertise. We learn how to meet challenges and overcome obstacles. According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) The US spends more money on educating its people than any other nation of the world. In more than 30 developing countries including Bangladesh and Pakistan, with large out-of-school population, the states devote less than 3% of GNP to education which is less than the recommended 6%. The growing gender gap in education hold women back across many spheres of life, over 58 million girls are out of schools, worldwide.

Educating women and providing opportunities for livelihood is a prerequisite for economic development of any country. According to UNICEF educating women is important to eradicate different levels of poverty. Through education women are being able to feed their family and take decisions related to their own life. Women access to education is considered as a fundamental right, which led them understand the complex world. According to the World Bank (WB) the educated women participate in the labor market, earn for their family and enable better health attention and learning for their children. At the country or state level, educating women, results in better quality life, higher levels of income, increased/improved productivity and economic wellbeing. On an average, women who have a secondary level education are more expected to work and they earn twice as much as compared to those having no education.

Global Challenges in attaining girls’ education
The growing gender gaps and inequality in education is fundamental issue which has affected thousands of people across the world. According to the assessment of UNESCO, a large number of girls with estimate 130 million between of the age of 6 and 17 are out of school. Not educating girls or creating barriers in their school education globally costs between $ 15 trillion to $ 30 trillion. According to the World Bank, “less than two thirds of girls in low-income countries complete primary school and only one in three girls complete lower secondary school”. In the developing countries, there are the structural issues that prevent girls from fulfilling her right to education which are on the basis of her gender and her economic condition. Further challenges across worldwide in attaining girls’ education are:

  • Poverty
  • Religious custom
  • Child marriage
  • War conflicts
  • Patriarchal traditions etc.

Furthermore, the gender gap in education does not give girls and boys an equal chance to get opportunities. A large number of girls lag behind boys in several significant areas of education which doesn’t let them break the vicious cycle of poverty.

Girls’ Education Increases Economic Growth and development
Economic growth and development are essential for progress. Female education has a significant and positive impact on economic growth. Education is an essential factor of economic growth and a fundamental right of every person. No country can attain sustainable economic growth without substantial investment in education. Increasing girls’ educational opportunities has a positive impact on developing country’s economic growth. Increasing share of women completing secondary education by 1% increases economic growth by 0.3%. Education gives women the skills of leadership; it also increases their participation in the global economy. In Pakistan, working women with high levels of literacy skills earned 95% more than women with weak or no literacy skills, whereas the differential was only 33 % among men. Educated women are empowered to take a greater economic role in their families and communities, and they tend to reinvest 90% of what they earn into their families. The female labour force is dramatically increasing the economic growth.

According to modern economic theory, education leads to economic prosperity. Women education has a great impact on preceding the country’s growth and it is necessary to attain the consequences of the social welfare outcomes. Women education plays a vital role in lessening of poverty and contributes to sustainable growth in developing nations. According to the World Bank, “the return on one year of secondary education for a girl correlates with as high as a 25% increase in wages later in life’’. Women’s education also leads to significant social development. Removing the gender gap in education can also increases gender equality, which is considered important both in itself and because it ensures equal rights and opportunities for people regardless of gender.

It is essential to familiarize women to the science and technology, modern living and to the developmental standing of their country. A recent study of 19 developing countries, including Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, concluded that a country’s long-term economic growth increases by 3.7 percent for every year the adult population’s average level of schooling rises. In the case of Pakistan1% increase in female education, female labor force participation, and education expenditure and fertility rate causes 96% increase in GDP of Pakistan. According to the United Nations Population Fund, “countries that have made social investments in health, family planning, and education have slower population growth and faster economic growth than countries that have not made such investments’’. Hence, countries who are investing more in girls’ education are going towards sustainability and are achieving the targets of sustainable development goals.

Concluding remarks
Education is a fundamental human right which delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income and it is the most important factor to ensure equality of opportunities. Numerous studies have showed that educating girls’ is particularly important as it is a lifeline to development. And one of the prominent ways to promote girls’ education is through awareness. Providing girls’ with education is necessary to get success in life, however this is not enough: it is equally important to see what happens after educating girls’.

Ms. Tehzeeb Bano
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