Research has shown there is a relationship between investing in women, gender equality, and the economic development of a nation.
A popular quote says, “if you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” No nation or country can fully reach its potential socially and economically until it utilizes the skills and potentials of its citizens.
Thus, the development of a nation depends on the resources available and how the resources are utilized.
Out of the resources a nation can possess, human talent is key and interestingly, women are up to half of that resources, (if not more). It has been shown through research that investing in women, and especially in their education has a great impact on the overall economy of a nation.
This shows that investing in women is a smart move.
Here is a quote from the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, “Investing in women is smart economics, and investing in girls, catching them upstream is even smarter economics. If you invest in girls, if you educate girls, if you get girls into jobs, you solve so many problems.”
Girl child education goes beyond putting them in school. It includes making sure that there are no barriers to their education which can be caused by cultural norms and practices, poverty, and poor infrastructures.
Unfortunately, in some societies, when a low-income family is faced with choosing whom to send to school, the parents will rather choose a male child over a female. This is due to poverty.
Some cultural practices also put the male child above the female because they believe a woman is the property of a man and will only be good for child birthing and house chores. Which should not be so.
Girl child education also involves assuring them of safety in school, ensuring they complete all levels of education so they can stand tall in the labor market.
Also, enlightening them on the importance of making significant decisions about their own lives and contributing to society and the world at large.
Research shows that educated women are more informed about their health, nutrition, the age they should marry, and family planning.
This, in turn, have a positive effect on maternal and pediatric health because these women are healthier thereby reducing maternal mortality and they also raise healthier children.
Why should we invest in women?
We are sure that investing in women is a smart move and it works with results to prove it. Here are some of the reasons why we should invest in women’s education and empowerment.
There is an end to child marriage: child marriage can be eliminated if it is possible to achieve universal basic secondary education. By the time these girls are through with their secondary education, they will be in the age range of 16-20.
Consequently, they will want to pursue a further educational career or learn a skill because of the enlightenment that the secondary education has afforded to them, and instead of been forced to marry at a young age.
Preservation of lives: the more educated a woman is, the more tendency she has to save lives directly and indirectly. An educated woman will make better choices about herself and her health.
A child that is married off at the age of 12 or 13 years has a high tendency of VVF (vesicovaginal fistula). With education, she is informed about her body and how her system works.
She understands family planning, which is an important key to poverty alleviation, there is a reduction in maternal mortality because she learns to take her health seriously and attends antenatal sessions.
A woman is a life-giver so preserving a woman’s life through education means saving thousands of lives connected to her.
There is equality of opportunities: women forming an irreplaceable part of the labor force and competing with their male counterparts will make them get the same opportunities that the men get.
Women were once overlooked and sent “to the kitchen” because it was believed that it is where they belong. Education and empowerment to women will give them a voice and make them heard among their peers.
Improvement of the economy: with education, women can make their own money and will not have to depend on men before they can buy the least of things.
From research, it has been shown that women with primary education earn at least 20% more than those without education, and women with secondary tend to earn twice as much as those with primary education. It goes on like that.
The higher the level of education, the higher their earning is. The more the earning is, the more they can contribute to the economic development of the nation.
Reduction in gender-based violence: in a study done, educated women are more likely to be less abused domestically and be cheated.
These women know their rights and they know what they stand for. This, in turn, reduces the crime rate against women making society a little more peaceful.
Lower rate of infant mortality: the higher the level of education, the lower the rate of infant mortality.
Children will receive better health care when women are educated. Children will be raised in a good environment with proper hygiene. They will receive immunizations and vaccines that are needed for their health, and they will be educated too.
At Emmanuel Osemota Foundation, we love to see our girl child empowered and educated. We want to see our women with a voice and leading with a positive impact in society.
We understand the power that women have, and we know how investing in one girl child can have a good effect on thousands of souls. This is why we invest in them.
How do we do that?
We educate them on their health and provide them with sanitary pads and napkins. This is aimed at reducing the barrier that might stop them from coming to school as some girls stay at home due to the lack of menstrual health products.
We provide educational materials, scholarships, and funding to increase their interest in education and to motivate them.
We organize empowerment programs, and we provide grants to women so that they can kick start their businesses which will make them contribute positively to society.
We provide free medical outreach so women can get free medical treatments, learn about their health, receive referrals, medications, and necessary women’s health products.
Written by: Emmanuel J. Osemota