In certain societies, gender quality is non-existent. Girls are discriminated against and are given lesser rights in many instances. Access to schools is limited and girls are biased against when it comes to filling up spaces in schools. In societies like Singapore, mass access to good education has built an extremely prosperous society. Educating everyone should be the goal of every society that desires progress.
Educating girls will result in a more educated and capable workforce for society. In societies that only educates boys, the workforce will be limited. If girls are not educated, this will result in about half the population only limited to doing menial unskilled labour. This will result in a lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita for the country. In countries like India, education for girls are not prioritised and thus when they grow up, they are resigned to working as menial labourers. Without proper access to education for everyone, a country may be stuck in a poverty cycle for a long time.
Knowledge breeds innovation and only through providing access to education for everyone can a society progress rapidly. By educating girls, a country will be able to innovate at a faster pace. There are many prominent female innovators and leaders throughout the world. Even Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, mentioned that he would hire women to help his organisation progress. By understanding that innovation and creative and progressive thinking are not only confined to males, a society will progress at a much faster rate.
A more educated workforce will result in more people filling white collar positions. Huge multi-national corporations set up offices in places where there is a ready source of white collar workers to fill up the positions available. This is the reason why companies prefer to set up offices in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and London. These places provide extremely good education to everyone in their society. This is extremely attractive to multi-national corporations as they can call upon a large pool of educated and skilled workers. Large multi-national corporations will bring along with them technology, knowledge and jobs. This is beneficial to society as it will create wealth and alleviate poverty. If both boys and girls are educated, the resulting educated workforce will attract good companies to the country.
A society should reward its people based on merit and not on their gender. A meritorious society results in a richer and safer place for its members. Taking the myopic view that girls should not have access to education will probably result in less than capable people in leadership positions. Effectively if you do not educate girls, there may be some talent within them which society did not utilise. The more optimally a society’s human capital is optimised, the greater the progress in that society. Meritocracy based on ability and not on gender is the way in which a society can progress and eliminate poverty.
Educating girls also helps to reduce instances of gender abuse. If girls, in general, are more educated, they will know and demand gender equality and speak up when abuses occur. This helps to make society safer in general and a safe and secure society helps to promote economic growth. This also promotes a more inclusive and just society. This is the type of society that the rich and large businesses would like to be part of. Places like Singapore and London where equality is prevalent, their societies are prospering.
Gender equality should not just be confined to education. Although it would be good to start by promoting gender equality in education, we should also promote gender equality in the workplace and in all aspects of society. Some employers may go so far as to discriminate against hiring a female for fear that she may decide to focus on her family and not her career. This stereotypical mindset is extremely discriminatory and there are laws put in place by many governments to counter such practices. Gender equality must be pervasive throughout society and not just confined to education alone to allow society to prosper.
In conclusion, education for girls is indeed the way out of poverty. By looking at countries that have given equal educational opportunities to everyone, regardless of their gender, race or social background, we can see that one of the hallmarks of a prosperous society is equality.