An article in the current issue of Time Magazine, titled “To Fight Poverty, Invest in Girls“, talks about the importance of investing in girls to reduce poverty and disease in the developing world. Across most of the developing world, very few girls are educated and most end up tending house, cleaning and cooking by the age of 12. In parts of Africa, less than 1 in 5 girls make it to secondary school. Almost half are married by the time they are 18 and 1 in 7 are married by the time they are 15. It is shocking to learn that the leading cause of death worldwide for girls aged 15 to 19 is complications from pregnancy.
This vicious cycle can be broken easily by education. Just an extra year of primary schooling for girls results in 10% to 20% better wages for them. Studies have found that girls who stay in school marry later and have fewer children. And girls and women who earn an income, end up investing 90% of it in their families – compared to only 30% to 40% for men. Although the benefits are huge it is surprising that less than 2% of development funds go towards girls and 90% of youth programs are designed for boys. While there are many factors for this neglect it is partly because of cultural attitudes towards girls across most of the world. This is slowly changing but a lot more needs to be clearly done.
The article is very relevant to the work being done by IIMPACT and lays out a very compelling case for our own mission to educate girls in the rural and backwards regions of India. You can view the original article at Time.com by following this link: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2046045,00.html.