• Emma Weaver

Challenges girls face having access to education.


M Y E D U C A T I O N I S A P R I V I L E D G E

Furthering my education was never a second thought. I got good grades throughout high school, received scholarships for college, and was inspired to pursue a career in journalism, something I’ve been passionate about for years.


I’m a News Writer for Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) student-run newspaper, The Lumberjack, where 80% of the news section writers are women. Not only are women dominating the writers room, they’re dominating university demographics. NAU consists of 68% female and female-identifying students with 42% male and male-identifying students. Women in the US workforce make up over half of all payroll jobs, stated in an NPR article. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for most women in other countries.


S U S T A I N A B L E D E V E L O P M E N T G O A L S

Women face discrimination in terms of education in many countries around the world, including Cambodia, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, and Kenya just to name a few. In these countries women are either not permitted to go to school; there is a poor tradition of women not attending school; or worst of all, women feel threatened, causing a low literacy rate among women. In this day and age it seems like this wouldn’t be an issue, but access to education for women is still a controversial topic in the fight for equality.


To address these inequities, the United Nation (UN) created the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 to share a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet that would be in full function by 2030. Two of them focus on gender equality for women:


Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Quality Education enables upward socioeconomic​​​​​​​​ mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Education helps reduce inequalities and reach gender equality and is crucial​​​​​​​​ to fostering tolerance and more peaceful societies. Over the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education and school enrollment rates, particularly for girls. Nevertheless, about 258 million children globally were still out of school in 2018 — 5.5 million more girls than boys. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​As for progress on this goal, the primary school completion rate reached 84% 2018, up from 70% in 2000 and​​​​​​​​ under current trends, is expected to reach 89% globally by 2030.​​​​​​​​


Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender Equality is a fundamental human right. Empowerment of women and girls is essential to expand economic growth and promote social development. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, half of its potential. But, today gender inequality persists everywhere and stagnates social progress. Women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership although women’s representation in the political arena is higher than ever before.​​​​​​​​


Women are still fighting for equality in every aspect of life. From women in Iran protesting the strict hijab rules, to women in America fighting to regain their reproductive rights, to women all around the world striding to simply be “at the table.”


If we had more women in positions of leadership, we would have a more peaceful and equitable world. Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias and stereotypes. A world that is equitable and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality.


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