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How educating girls can transform an economy

09 Dec 2020 - Barni Homden

Educating girls across the world is a mission we really care about at Kaplan. We believe that studying just for the love of learning is worthwhile. However, the effect it can have on not only the life of the individual, but also society as a whole, is truly amazing.

Here, you can read how providing a better education for girls can transform entire economies, and has helped shape the modern world.

Unlocking everyone’s potential

One obvious benefit of educating girls is that more people have the chance to push themselves and discover what they’re capable of. Who knows how many incredibly smart and talented people throughout history never got the chance to make an impact on the world, simply because they didn’t have access to education?

Overcoming this issue is something that’s in our DNA at Kaplan, thanks to the experiences of Stanley Kaplan, who founded the company.

Keeping girls in education for longer gives them a better chance of discovering what they’re good at, and how they can best utilise their talent, knowledge and experience in the future. The world will always need brilliant minds to work in everything from scientific research to political leadership, so it’s best to enable everyone to unlock their potential.

girl student in classroom

Boost to economic growth

Unlocking the potential of women and girls can also have a huge impact on economic growth. The economies of many countries were transformed in the 20th century by women staying in education for longer, and joining the workforce in larger numbers. This was increasingly the case as office work became more common than manual work (which required heavy labour), therefore granting women more opportunities.

Women being educated and better prepared to work gives nations access to a much wider pool of labour, helping to boost economic growth. The effects of women working can include better productivity and higher incomes. For countries with low levels of female participation in the workforce, closing the gender gap could lead to GDP growth as high as 35%.

Improvement in women’s wages

Another key way that educating girls can have a positive economic impact is in women’s wages. According to the World Bank, one year of secondary education can make a 25% difference in wages for women.

Making this even more clear, a UNESCO report found that, in Pakistan, women with a higher level of literacy generally earned 95% more than women with poor or no literacy skills.

Of course, higher wages for women mean a more comfortable life for many people. But it also means a larger tax intake for governments, and higher spending to boost economic growth.

Equality for women

Furthermore, education for women is also closely tied to equality for women. Giving girls access to the same level of education as boys would be an equaliser in its own right. But it also helps give women a more equal role in society, as they can participate more in economic and political life.

In the UK, it was women joining the workforce in factories while men fought in the First World War that led to women getting the right to vote soon after. This demonstrates the correlation between participating in economic life, and gaining political rights.

women hanging out

Improving rights for women, and pursuing gender equality, also generally makes countries more attractive places for foreign investment and tourism. Clearly this can have a profound impact on economic development!

The challenge

Of course, there is still so much more to be done to improve access to education for girls. Still too often girls can find themselves out of the education system before secondary school, or limited to jobs that are perceived to be traditionally ‘for women’. Ultimately, what holds women back, holds economic development back.

As an education provider, we’re passionate about the idea that education should be available to everyone. We help thousands of students gain an education every year, including many fantastic young women.

But we’re also working with Plan International, a wonderful charity that helps broaden access to education for girls, on some exciting projects. You can find out more about our work with Plan International here.

Educate girls

Getting an education is a great way to be a better citizen and improve your life and society. But you can also help out more directly, by becoming an educator yourself!

If you want to make a difference in the education of girls, studying Education can help you on that path. Use the search bar below to find degrees related to education, and you could go on to make a difference too.

 
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