Top Ten Reasons to Educate Women



From Cairo to Beijing, offering quality and universal education to young girls promotes progress for society as a whole. Carla Koppell of the United States Agency for International Development, better known as USAID, even called female education a “silver bullet” for empowerment and progress. To better understand the far-reaching effects of a few books and a classroom, delve into the top ten list below.

1. Increased Literacy

Of the 163 million illiterate youth across the globe, nearly 63 percent are female. Offering all children education will prop up literacy rates, pushing forward development in struggling regions.

2. Human Trafficking

Women are most vulnerable to trafficking when they are undereducated and poor, says the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking. Through providing young girls with opportunities and fundamental skills, the $32 billion annual industry can be significantly reduced.

3. Political Representation

Across the globe, women are underrepresented as voters and restricted from political involvement. The United Nations Women’s programs on leadership and participation suggests that civic education, training and all around empowerment will ease this gap.

4. Thriving Babies

According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, children of educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of five.

5. Safe Sex

A girl who completes primary school is three times less likely to contract HIV. With these statistics in mind, The World Bank calls education a “window of hope” in preventing the spread of AIDS among today’s children.

6. Later Weddings

As suggested by the United Nations Population Fund, in underdeveloped countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching the age of 18.  In a region where a girl receives seven or more years of education, the wedding date is delayed by four years.

7. Smaller Families

Increased participation in school reduces fertility rates over time. 

8. Income Potential

Education also empowers a woman’s wallet through boosting her earning capabilities. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, a single year of primary education has shown to increase a girl’s wages later in life by 20 percent.

9. Thriving GDP

Gross domestic product, better known as GDP, also soars when both girls and boys are being offered educational opportunities. When 10 percent more women attend school, GDP increases by three percent on average.

10. Poverty Reduction

When women are provided with equal rights and equal access to education, they go on to participate in business and economic activity. Increased earning power and income combat against current and future poverty through feeding, clothing and providing for entire families.

The sustainability and progress of all regions depends on the success of women across the globe. As President Obama said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, “The future must not belong to those who bully women. It must be shaped by girls who go to school and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.”

– Lauren Stepp,

Sources: PRB, UNDP, U.N. Women, CFR, World Bank

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