Why invest in slum girls’ education?
Slum-based girls are the most marginalised girls
Women and girls in the slums of Mumbai, India often do not have support from their families or community to gain an education. When a family does not have the financial resources to provide quality education to all their children, they prefer to give more education to their boy children. Because most of the women are not educated, they are unable to provide quality education to their daughters. So slum-based women and girls are trapped in a vicious circle, and the education of many girl children is neglected.
Slum girls find it very difficult to get quality basic education. They do not have a positive supportive environment at school, where the boys are typically given more attention. After school, in their slum community, there are no safe places where they can gather and learn on their own. Their families often prefer girls to stay home, and don’t support their learning. Without support for their education at school, at home, or in their neighbourhood, many girls are lacking even basic literacy and numeracy skills. Slum girls are the most marginalised girls in Mumbai.
Core problems of slum girls’ education
|Core social issue||Slum-based girls do not have access to quality basic education|
|Symptoms||Slum girls are lacking in basic literacy and numeracy skills, so they struggle with reading and writing. They have a high dropout rate in secondary education, so they face limited career options and often live in poverty.|
|Root Cause||Slum girls do not get a quality education in school. They often do not get individual attention from teachers, because there are high numbers of children in school classes, and boys often get more attention. Teaching typically lacks creative teaching aids and best practices, making basic education uninteresting.|
|Issue 1||After school, there is little academic support or guidance available for slum girls at home or in their community.|
|Issue 2||Parents are busy earning their livelihood and often have no special concern towards girls’ education.|
|Issue 3||In the community, there is no safe place where slum girls can gather to improve their education outside school.|
Girls need to be empowered
Girls and young women in the developing world are generally less educated, less healthy, and less free than their male peers. In many places, girls and women do not enjoy the basic rights and protections of citizenship, including the right to own and inherit land when they reach majority age, attend school, access health care services and information, hold certain jobs, stop unwanted sexual advances, or obtain justice for sexual assault and abuse. Because of their lack of economic opportunity and the social norms disfavouring them, girls and women are often regarded as less worthy of investment or protection from their families, resulting in early marriage and motherhood. Investment in girls’ education, health, protection from violence, and economic opportunity enable girls’ to realise their human rights.
When you invest in a girl, she contributes to economic growth when she becomes a woman
According to the United Nations Foundation:
- Every year of schooling increases a girl’s individual earning power by 10 to 20 percent, while the return on secondary education is even higher, in the 15 to 25 percent range.
- Girls’ education is proven to increase not only wage earning but also productivity for employers, yielding benefits for the community and society.
- The impact of investing in girls is intergenerational. A mother with a few years of formal education is considerably more likely to send her children to school, breaking the intergenerational chain of poverty.