Knowledge Is Power: Getting Out Of Medieval Times
Unfortunately, some countries still live in a sort of medieval age that endorses an alternative metaphysics. The reality is that many Muslim countries are still living as a part of the obscene ideology that is the unequal provision of education to both genders. Of course, developed countries are far beyond this dispute but the common belief is that education is key in achieving gender equality in 2030. And yet, the light of burning match of inequality has never shone brighter and the current tensions such as bombing of schools will keep it ignited unless we do something about it.
It’s these glaring inequalities that caused Michelle Obama to infamously start an initiative called ‘’Let’s Educate Girls’’. What’s more, through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to ‘’Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all’’. To our disappointment, I believe I voice everyone when I say that actions speak louder than words and yet, women still account for two thirds of the 750 million adults who do not have literacy skills.
So what is the issue that has caused this tremendous injustice? Well, yes, it’s a global matter which is present almost everywhere but what are the areas where women are mostly deprived from the basic right that is the foundation of human development? Unfortunately, we focus our attention on the Muslim world again, particularly on the Northwest of Pakistan in the Swat district. Swat valley is portrayed as the ‘’Switzerland of the East’’ and the paradise on Earth. Swat valley, the land of waterfalls, lush green hills and other gifts bestowed upon it by the nature. Swat valley, with its fruit laden orchards, glacier fed lakes and roaring rivers is without doubt the blossoming flower of Pakistan. And yet, beauty is pleasant to behold but after sometime it withers away.
That is the case in Swat – it has become a heartland for Pakistan Islamic militancy. Today, this idyllic valley of peace is burning. But why is the peace of this valley destroyed? Why are the innocent people besieged? Why are girls’ future targeted? Well, Taliban ideology has set out barriers to girls’ education in Pakistan. School have become places of fear and violence, not places of learning. Girls’ dreams are shattered – there are many instance where girls spoke again and again about their longing for education, their desire to “be someone,” and how these dreams had been pulverized by being impotent to study.
Right now, according to HRW, roughly 22.5 million of Pakistan’s children are out of school in a nation where the population is just over 200 million, the majority of them being girls. Thirty-two percent of primary school age girls are out of school in Pakistan and by ninth grade, only 13 percent of girls are still in school and 26% of women are actively engaged in the labour market.
The most shattering attack on education in recent years in Pakistan was the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar city, where radicals killed 145 people, specifically targeting girls. But the worldwide epiphany happened on the 9th of October 2012 – when a 15-year-old education activist called Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for standing up for her beliefs when opposing a Taliban gunman.
Who will solve their problems and return their valley to peace? Nobody, no one, unless we act. So how can bothering with educating girls help achieve gender equality. It’s quite simple actually. Education is the underpinning of the healthy growth of any women’s standard of living! It allows women to women to find wages and jobs where I was astonished to hear that one additional year in school can increase a women’s earnings by 20%. 20 PERCENT – that is the difference between paying off your mortgage, going on that dream holiday and above all, giving your children the best possible life.
Furthermore, education makes women much healthier! A study showed that if all mothers completed primary education, the number of maternal deaths can be reduced by 2/3 which in reality means saving 189 000 lives. Just take a second to process that. What’s more, an extra year of education can decrease the probability of contracting HIV by 7%.
Education has a huge psychological on women. It empowers them to fight for their rights. Women which learn to read and write help them access the information about the unjust environment they live in and build up the courage to challenge that inequality and make an actual difference in the world. Another study showed that across 54 countries, women with a secondary education are 4 times, yes, 4 times less likely to lack control of over household resources and domestic abuse and being married young. However, most importantly, education prevents women to undergo harmful practises. For instance, in Kenya women with no education are 4 times more likely to have undergone FGM or in Sierra Leone where 97% of girls and women who do not possess any education have suffered FGM. Finally, girls without schooling are very exposed to violence at home and consuming excessive amount of drugs and alcohol, all of which harm the overall social welfare.
To be honest, it does make us think. To what extent can we keep on allowing this? How far does the fine line of atrocity need to be crossed until the world finally realises that these girls are being stripped of any opportunity to live a normal life, are objectified to just aspire to be housewives who give birth every now and then and be worthless human being which can make no difference what so ever? Unless we do something, our voices will overshadow all the actions and the contemporary problems will still remain in the dark, unattended and ensuing on and on.
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