• Blandina Malinzi

Gender Equality and Why It’s Important

Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence,” says World Bank.

Today things have changed women now more than ever have opportunities, are educated, and career oriented and able to be the provider of their family while chasing their dreams and fighting for their rights.

Empowering women from around the world has become a strategic priority and one of the first major changes is education. It can be said that the world is making successful progress in ensuring gender equality in education for both male and females. (Image courtesy of pixabay)

Nevertheless, they are still challenges in the education sector for instance girls still make up a higher percentage of out of school students more than boys.

According to UNESCO it estimated that about 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary school age- half of them in Sub-Saharan African will never enter a classroom, be able to go to college or university.

Education has always been seen as the way out of poverty, especially for girls’ education in Tanzania, its expensive and inaccessible to many therefore the boy always ends up being the one to go to school.

Not many parents in Tanzania especially those living in rural areas and even in urban areas can afford to pay their children’s school fees so one has to be sacrificed which I think is unfair. Every child has a right to an education.

Women and young girls around the world for years have faced a lot of discrimination up until today from sexual harassment to violence at workplace. For instance, as mentioned girls face sexual harassment by their teachers in schools and universities in Tanzania and Kenya and Uganda. Most teachers threaten their students to have sexual intercourse in order for them to pass and get good grades.

In Tanzania, less than 20% percent of women from the ages 20-24 have completed secondary school and 20 percent have had no education at all (USAID, 2018).

With no certificate most of the young girls end up becoming house girls, cleaning toilets, waitress and other low paying jobs that exposes them to abusive environments.

A girl’s education should be a strategic priority for the government and other stakeholders for the development of the country.

It’s been said that educated women tend to be healthier, more at ease and earn higher incomes so that they are able to provide more for their families, have fewer children and being able to bring in health care for their children.

Another concern that is stopping young girls from receiving their education is child marriage.

Child marriage has been a huge barrier in Sub-Saharan Africa for decades. Child brides are more likely to drop out of school, and complete fewer years of education than their peers who marry later.

According to World Bank (2018) more than 41,000 girls end up being married by the age of 18 everyday.

(Image courtesy of pixabay)

“According to a new report published by the World Bank, educating girls and ending child marriage could accelerate development progress and the reduction of poverty in Tanzania. In contrast, the perpetuation of child marriage and the lack of education for girls would lead to lower earnings for women, substantial health risks, higher intimate partner violence, higher population growth, and higher poverty among other impacts, as reported by the African News”.

Furthermore, it stated that investing in girls’ education is not only an investment in the girl herself, but also in her children – the future generation – bringing substantial benefits to the wider society and the economy. The evidence in this report clearly shows the very high value to Tanzania of investing in girls and ending child marriage.

Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practice, violence and poor infrastructure. We must find sustainable solutions so that our girls can have a better future!

(Image courtesy of Tai Studio)

Women are looked down upon by society as their job for years was to always be at home, take care of their husband and children but this is wrong. All women have a right to excel in life and follow their dreams.

We must teach our men and boys and engage them to become more active in the fight against gender-based discrimination because this also affects the future of their sisters, cousin brothers, cousin sisters and nieces and nephews.

We as the nation have an opportunity to secure a better future and raise a new generation of girls and boys who respect one another and be able to work together to create and aspire for change.

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