*Our high school intern wrote this post from his perspective as a 15 year old boy. *
For a long time, women and girls have been treated differently to men and boys.
Considered inferior to males in many ways, their primary roles were seen to be looking after the house and having children. This still occurs to this day in many parts of the world, including right here in Australia.
One of the keys to changing this is through all girls having access to a full and proper education.
Ensuring this creates greater equality between genders, so everyone grows up in an
equal society, where all people are treated the same and have the same opportunities. “Why should boys care about girls’ education?” is a really interesting question to think about, and a very important one.
I hadn’t really thought about it deeply until now, since for my whole life I have grown up around two brothers, no sisters. It makes you think, what would life be like if you didn’t receive an education? You would most likely lead down a far less fulfilling path, since you have no knowledge of what ‘normal’ is, and it would be near impossible to obtain a good job, experience the world and reach your full potential.
It’s also important to remember women make up over half the population. In other words, they are a very significant part of the community and, as men, we can’t let all this talent go to waste!
For all we know, what if the young Fijian girl who didn’t receive an education because of a man’s choice would’ve found the cure to cancer? There would be so many amazing missed opportunities. Women and girls make a difference.
Beyond the simple fact it is a basic human right (equality) that everyone is able to receive an education… everyone… women are also very influential in their communities, meaning the more educated girls become, the stronger people and communities can grow and develop.
Mothers contribute directly and heavily in the raising of their children, boys and girls, meaning they have a large influence on what they grow up to be. If they are uneducated and don’t teach their family the basic things a child needs to know, they might grow up to be poorly educated and less healthy. It has a flow-on effect.
As stated by UNICEF, “Investing in girls’ education transforms communities, countries and the entire world.”
When girls are fully educated, they are less likely to marry young and more empowered to think and act for themselves. This gives them far more opportunity and fulfilment in life than being expected to simply stay at home, washing up, cooking and caring for the kids.
Domestic violence is often another serious issue, where husbands have disproportionate control over their uneducated wives – who may not have the ability, knowledge or means to get in touch with someone who can help them.
Of course, not marrying at a very young age also gives women more time to learn and discover things about themselves and the world around them, leading to a healthier and more productive life.
This also benefits boys too, because boys are hugely influenced by the women in their lives, young and old, and the more educated women are, the more compassionate and open minded men will become. By being exposed to more women in more parts of their lives (including both education and work), it will broaden their understanding, respect and appreciation of the value women bring to all facets of society. This begins to break the cycle of discrimination that has held women and girls back for centuries.
Furthermore, it is clear to say that not just Fijian girls, but all girls’ education is crucial, as it helps shape who we and they are as people, which provides equality for everyone, allowing women to experience things they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Written by Ryan M