THERE’S a reason that education is one of the six Fundamental Rights included in the Indian Constitution. Educating a child opens doors to many possibilities – from employment to better health.  It is reported by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights that 40% of all adolescent girls in India are out of school. This means that during those crucial adolescent years, nearly half of all girls in the country are denied access to one of the basic rights required to build their futures. To educate girls is to build the future of a nation. But India has a long way to go regarding girls’ education.

But first, let us introduce you to Akanksha. Akanksha was born into a low-income family and had to drop out of middle school when she got her period. While her brother went to school, she stayed home to care for her siblings. There are many girls like Akanksha in India. Dasra reports that 23 million girls are forced to leave school every year after reaching puberty due to social stigma and a lack of menstrual health facilities. 

There are a lot of obstacles that come in the way to educate girls in India. Girls are pulled out of school for reasons like early marriage, to do household chores or stay at home because they have started menstruating. But exactly what happens when girls are allowed to finish school? 

Here are 10 things that happen when you educate girls:  

  1. Education prevents child labour

Education is the primary tool to combat child labour. Without an education, many children are forced to work as unskilled labour to bring home an immediate income without much thought to their futures. According to an International Labour Organization report based on the 2011 Census, there are 4.5 million girls out of 10.1 million children between the ages of 5 to 14 engaged in work. But when girls are enrolled in school, they build long-term personal skills and academic knowledge to secure a safe and respectable future career. 

  1. Education helps girls avoid child marriage

There is a clear connection between education and the age a woman gets married. Based on National Family Health Survey research, the United Nations Population Fund found that 48% of girls in India who never went to school were married before age 18, while the percentage among girls who were enrolled in school was 4%. Keeping girls in school ensures that she will not marry or give birth before she is physically and mentally able to do so. 

  1. Education leads to better incomes 

When girls graduate from school and become employable, they are able to earn higher incomes. This helps them be self-sufficient and allows them to take care of themselves and their families. The ability for girls to earn an income in the future guarantees the control she has over her basic needs, health and decision-making as well as increases her standard of living.  

  1. Education keeps girls safe from exploitation and abuse

In India, girls’ safety is always on our minds – and on the news. One of the primary ways that girls can be protected from exploitation is by staying in school. In the protected environment of a school, girls learn critical information about personal and online safety and are on a path to a stable future. But when girls are not in school, they are vulnerable to employers, traffickers and others who seek to exploit their lack of opportunities and their so-called “unimportance”. 

  1. Education creates greater social consciousness 

An education helps girls develop important skills such as critical thinking, communication and civic skills, which encourage greater social awareness and political participation. Girls with access to education are better able to identify issues in their communities by using their skills, tools and networking to devise solutions. When girls are educated, they can go on to influence policy, participate in decision-making on a national or global level and become changemakers.

  1. Educated girls grow up to have healthier children 

Health and science subjects in school provide girls with life-saving information on puberty, sexual health and reproduction. This knowledge keeps them informed about their health from adolescence to young adulthood and is useful when they grow up to become mothers, since they are better educated on child health and nutrition. Studies by the Population Reference Bureau found that educated women are more likely to give birth in healthcare facilities, vaccinate their children, have better child survival rates and reduce the transmission of viruses, such as HIV, from mother to child.    

  1. Education leads to economic growth 

Economies are strengthened when women, who are around 48% of the population, have the academic foundation to participate in innovation, productivity and income generation. Girls who are educated provide multiple sectors of the economy with a larger pool of resources, leading to economic growth. Encouraging girls to study and specialize in a wide variety of subjects in school and higher education boosts the economy by preparing more young people for employment and decent earnings, reducing poverty levels.

  1. Education empowers girls

Going to school places girls on an equal footing with others her age. In the classroom, she learns about the world around her, develops interests and sets goals. These serve as stepping stones for girls to contribute to society and become productive citizens. It all starts with an education, which gives girls the confidence and resources to become the best version of themselves and works towards achieving gender equality.

  1. Education leads to better health for girls

In addition to going on to have healthier children, girls who are educated have a better awareness of their own physical, mental and menstrual health. Learning beneficial health practices and behaviours in school are known to make girls healthier and improve their life expectancy. Education also breaks the stigma and taboos that girls encounter when they reach puberty and their bodies begin to change. Being educated on menstruation and safe menstrual habits is key during those crucial adolescent years. 

  1. Educated girls educate their daughters

Mothers who received an education as girls are more likely to educate their own children, according to research reported by UNICEF. Educating girls is one of the most effective ways to make sure that future generations of girls are, in turn, educated. The constitutionality of girls’ education makes it clear that educating girls is a priority for the nation. The effort to keep girls in school comes back full circle since these girls go on to promote girls’ education within their peer groups, families and communities. 

Do you remember Akanksha, who we introduced you to earlier in the article? Because of the donations made to the Every Girl in School mission, the cost of Akanksha’s books, uniform and other expenses were covered by generous donors. Akanksha now goes to school every morning and dreams about becoming a police officer!

Our Every Girl in School mission aims to raise funds to cover the education costs of 15,000 girls across India including tuition fees, books, uniforms and other school-related expenses to make sure that every girl has access to an education. Donate here and help us place every girl in school! 

Established in 2000, is the largest and most trusted giving platform in India. Our community of 2.6M+ donors have supported 3,000+ nonprofits, impacting 15M+ lives across India.


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