In America, most of us are privileged enough to be able to complain about tests, homework, and having to wake up early to go to school. Although there are many flaws in our education system, we at least get to learn the basics: reading, writing, math, and then some. Our education is one of the few forms of empowerment young people have in this country.
But not everyone in the world is lucky enough to have this privilege.
According to RighttoEducation.org, “57 million children worldwide, including 31 million girls, are out of school and two-thirds of illiterate adults are women. In developing countries, adolescent girls are more likely to drop out of secondary school than boys, particularly in rural areas.” This shows that boys’ education is prioritized far more than girls’ education.
There are many reasons why people around the world don’t send their girls to school, or why some girls are forced to drop out of school. One reason may be because school is too expensive. Some places like Haiti and Ethiopia don’t have a public school system, which means people have to pay to send their children to primary and secondary school. Another reason involving money is that sometimes girls aren’t sent to school because they are sent to work as maids and servants instead. Educator Karina Riesgo Bañuelos says, “To care about young girls and women in general is to rewrite the whole narrative and reprioritize education as a whole. It can also be because of mass poverty, not being able to provide the resources to secure the success of these girls. There are just so many factors.”
Another reason why girls might not be attending school is thanks to harmful practices such gender-based violence and discriminatory laws. One young girl who is a survivor of gender-based violence and an education rights activist is Malala Yousafzai. When Malala was fourteen, she and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a man boarded the bus Malala was riding and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack. The shooting resulted in massive support for Yousafzai, which continued during her recovery. She gave a speech at the United Nations on her sixteenth birthday, in 2013. At the age of seventeen, she became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Another example of gender violence is the 200 girls in Nigeria who were kidnapped. On the night of April 14, 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist and terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria.
They say education is power. And it’s true: when a man sees a woman who is credited for something he can do, that’s when they know they don’t have control over her anymore. But when you start stripping away our power at such a young age, we become programed to think that all we’re good for is doing the cooking, and the cleaning, and the serving. Stop telling little girls that all they’re good for is to be a servant to men. And always remember to fear the girls and women who have been taught to not let themselves