Educate a Woman you Educate an entire family

According to Mahatma Gandhi, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.”

“Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society” is what Sonia Sotomayor once said, referring to the uneven landscape of several educational settings including the one characterizing gender inequality. The notion of gender has been distinguished as a mere social construct, as a result of the prominent disparities existing between “males” and “females”, and the role that these disparities played in enhancing the gender-based discriminations. There are many traditions, practices, and conventions that sustain gender inequality, by depriving females of their basic rights or implementing a societal hierarchy where females are placed at the very bottom, or not ranked at all. In some societies, females are deemed as burdens, to be fed, until they are sufficiently ready to be wed, and in most cases being ready for marriage means the early stages of passing from the on-number- age to the two-numbers-age, leaving females with the highest rates of illiteracy; they represent around two-thirds of the 750 million adults who lack the basic literacy skills, and most of them did not have the right to choose whether to go to schools or not.

There are several factors that lead to extending the gender gap between males and females, similarly to poverty, premature marriage, violence exercised on females, and pregnancy, besides other social issues, which in many contexts happen to affect females more than any other category. One of the consequences of gender gaps is females’ exclusion from education cycles; that is why establishing gender equality in some regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, is considered as a priority for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), since fulfilling this goal would solve a number of other peripheral problems which fall under the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDG’s). In this respect, the former UN Secretary-General once said “to educate girls is to reduce poverty”; thus, reducing the rates of gender discrimination would facilitate the process of concretizing the fourth sustainable development goal, which consists of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, together with fulfilling the very first sustainable development goal, on the long run.

Achieving gender equality would also pave the way for the smooth and relatively easy execution of a number of other different sustainable development goals. Increasing the number of females attending schools is an indication that education is gradually gaining more importance in a given region, and the stepping stone for increasing the rates of educated individuals, which by its turn denotes the growth of these individuals’ awareness about the world. In some regions, receiving an education is not considered to be necessary; thus, even males who are given the right to choose whether to continue their education or not, decide to leave educational institutions and join the labor force, and in most cases, poverty pushes them to; whereas only a few females are capable of trying school seats for few years before dropping out since education is ‘not that important’ in their own settings.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data, in some Sub-Saharan African areas, six to eleven girls will not go to school at all, while some schools do not even encompass females’ toilets. Such data reveals that girls are not expected to be seen wandering around the schools’ hallways, and even if they do, then it will not last for too long. It is highly important to address the gender inequality dominating regions like sub-Saharan Africa and parts of southeast Asia, among other geographical areas; otherwise, women will be increasingly downgraded and inhibited not only from receiving an education but also from indulging in casual, daily activities, which will end up in increasing the levels of violence exercised on females. 

The technological advancement featuring contemporary times can facilitate a big deal in the process of establishing an inclusive quality education. In many communities, sending females to school would be a goal that may only be achieved after dedicating a lot of consistent efforts for long periods of time in order to normalize such a phenomenon; however, this may risk depriving a large number of females the right to have the basic literacy skills in the process. Therefore, providing online accredited free schools for females living in similar contexts would increase the numbers of educated females without jeopardizing their chances of attending schools as a result of the dominant mindset that “girls are indoor creatures”. In addition to that, students who dropped out of school at a very young age because they were unable to meet school expenses, or to take care of a sick family member, will also be able to have access to degree programs from their houses. In this case, global and governmental organizations are ought to assist the concerned population by providing them with the necessary technological devices and internet coverage in order to render these online schools as accessible as possible. In the meantime, attempts to eradicate gender discrimination must remain persistent until more females are able to obtain their basic rights, receive education, and be the schools for the upcoming generations.

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