Ever since I read Let Her Fly by Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, I’ve asked myself: How can I help advance the cause of girl’s education? As a parent myself, I noted the subtle disadvantages faced by girls at school, even in our affluent society. Far from our shores, the problems escalate dramatically — witness Malala’s famous story of her near-murder in Pakistan.
Of course, championing girls’ education doesn’t for a moment suggest that boys’ education is unimportant. There are global challenges for boys, too, and they need to be addressed. But anyone with a sense of fairness can support a special focus on girls. In too many parts of the world, the playing field is absurdly sloped. There are way more girls than boys out of school — over 130 million in total worldwide — and that sets in motion a chain of disadvantages in every aspect of life, from the job market to public office.
The Power of Leverage
But there’s another set of reasons that should get everyone’s attention. A detailed report* by the Brookings Institution shows that educating girls delivers disproportionate benefits to society as a whole. The evidence they’ve amassed is indisputable. Here’s a list of what gets better when girls go to school:
- Economy: Higher national economic growth
- Agriculture: Increased agricultural productivity
- Disaster mitigation: Less harm from natural disasters
- Infant well-being: Less infant mortality, malnutrition and stunting
- Public health: Less HIV and malaria
- Family size: Smaller and more sustainable families
- Child marriage: Less of this horror
- Education cycle: Educated mothers raise educated children
In other words, girls’ education is a remarkable point of leverage. If you want a better world, here is one of the fastest ways to achieve it.
So what’s the connection with Braincat? We’re an education company as much as we’re a software company: our mission is to help people think more clearly, freely and effectively. And our mindset is all about finding the essentials in complex situations. So it makes sense for Braincat to adopt girls’ education as a special cause.
In the meantime, here are three organizations that are doing stellar work around the world to advance this great cause:
There are several others, so if you’re interested, look around and see how you’d like to contribute. We’ll be reporting more about our own efforts in the coming months.
*What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment, by Gene B Sperling and Rebecca Winthrop