Cover Image
close this bookIntegrating Girl Child Issues into Population Education - Volume 1 (PROAP - UNFPA, 1997, 44 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentData Card
View the documentPreface
View the documentCHAPTER ONE: Background
View the documentCHAPTER TWO: Present Status of Girl Child
View the documentCHAPTER THREE: Strategies to Promote Female Education
View the documentCHAPTER FOUR: Benefits of Educating Girls
View the documentReferences

(introduction...)

UNESCO PROAP Regional Clearing House on Population Education and Communication

United Nations Population Fund


Figure

Photo: Paul Harrison

Bangkok, 1997

UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Integrating Girl Child Issues into Population Education

Volume 1. Bangkok, Regional Clearing House on Population Education and Communication, UNESCO PROAP, 1997. 38 P.

1. GIRLS. 2. GIRLS EDUCATION. 3. QUALITY OF LIFE. 4. RESOURCE MATERIALS.

I. Title.

305.23


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© UNESCO 1997

Published by the
UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
P.O. Box 967, Prakanong Post Office
Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Printed in Thailand under
UNFPA Project RAS/96/P02

The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout the publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning its frontiers or boundaries.

Data Card

PUBLICATION TYPE:

Project publication

IMPRINT:

Bangkok: UNESCO PROAP Regional Clearing House on Population Education and Communication, UNFPA, 1997

PAGINATION:

2v.

AFFILIATED AGENCY:

UNESCO. PROAP Regional Clearinghouse on Population Education and Communication

UNFPA PROJECT NUMBER:

RAS/96/P02

ABSTRACT:

Vol. 1: Status of the girl child in terms of education, nutrition, harmful cultural practices [etc.]. Vol. 2: “Strategies and sample curriculum and instructional materials”

SUBJECT:

Population education; Girls; Female education; Gender bias

REGION:

Asia and the Pacific

Preface

The girl child has emerged as an important priority interest group addressed in the Cairo ICPD Programme Plan of Action. According to the Report of the Cairo Meeting,

“Since in all societies discrimination on the basis of sex often starts at the earliest stages of life, greater equality for the girl child is necessary first step in ensuring that women realize their full potential and become equal partners in development. In a number of countries, the practice of prenatal sex selection, higher rates of mortality among very young girls, and lower rates of school enrollment for girls as compared with boys, suggest that “son preference” is curtailing the access of girl children to food, education and health care. This is often compounded by the increasing use of technologies to determine foetal sex, resulting in abortion of female foetuses. Investments made in the girl child’s health, nutrition and education, from infancy through adolescence are critical.”

The UNFPA objectives in reaching the girl child with appropriate programmes and activities are:

1. To eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child and the root causes of son preference, which results in harmful and unethical practices regarding female infanticide and prenatal sex selection;

2. To increase public awareness of the value of the girl child, and concurrently, to strengthen the girl child’s self-image, self-esteem and status;

3. To improve the welfare of the girl child, especially in regard to health nutrition and education.

The actions called for by UNFPA to redress the discrimination of the girl-child include: i) promoting equal treatment of girls and boys with respect to nutrition, health care, education and social, economic and political activity, as well as equitable inheritance rights; ii) access by girls and women to secondary and higher levels of education as well as vocational education and technical training; iii) eliminations of sex stereotypes in all types of communication educational and media meaterials that undermine girls’ self-esteem; iv) eliminating gender bias in educational curricula; v) enforcing laws to ensure that marriage is entered only with free and full consent of the intending spouses and raising the minimum age at marriage; vi) promoting the adoption of policies that encourage women’s full participation in the development of societies, not only for their role as child-bearers and caretakers; vii) elimination of sex or son preference; viii) prohibition of female genital mutilation, infanticide, trafficking in girl children, etc.

One of the most important vehicles for promoting the concerns of the girl child and the elimination of gender bias is through education. Since UNFPA is funding programmes of population education all over the world, this subject area which is taught in both school and in-school sectors, can serve as suitable and effective medium for integrating messages on girl child.

Objectives

Considering the above-cited objectives of the Cairo Meeting and UNFPA, the Regional Clearing House on Population Education has embarked on repackaging of information and materials related to education of girl child with the hope of contributing towards the achievement of these objectives.

There are now a growing number of materials dealing with the issues of girl child. They need to be synthesized, processed, consolidated and repackaged to bring them to the attention of the population educators, policy-makers and administrators, curriculum developers, trainers, teachers, and students. With the assistance of Ms. Sunanda Krishnamurty, consultant and main author, and Ms. Carmelita L Villanueva, Adviser on Population Information from CST for East and South-East Asia, this repackaging effort resulted in two volumes.

The first volume focuses on the status of the girl child in terms of education, nutrition and health care, marriage and family life, harmful cultural practices, values and traditions, child labour, prostitution, sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS. It also suggests strategies to promote female education, examining first the barriers to girls’ education; then goes on to convince the readers of the benefits of educating girls.

Volume Two offers the more practical handbook which gives the guidelines or procedures on how to integrate girl child issues into population education, both in curriculum and teacher training, giving a matrix of entry points in population education into which girl child topics could be integrated or incorporated. Finally, the second volume also carries an array of actual lessons and teaching/learning materials compiled from various sources which offer the users ready-made instructional materials that can be immediately used in classroom teaching, instructional materials development or teacher training.

The objectives of the two volumes in Integrating Girl Child Issues into Population Education are:

1. To increase awareness of how population educators can contribute to the elimination of stereotyping and discrimination of the girl child and promote appreciation of the value of the girl child.

2. To develop skills or ways and means of integrating messages on girl child issues into population education programmes, both in the school and out-of-school sectors.

3. To obtain quick source of exemplary strategies and curriculum/training materials for introducing messages about girl child through the vehicle of population education.

4. To provide the educators with an over-all view of the literature that exist on the subject of girl child.

Sources

The two volumes were compiled based on a wealth of existing materials on the girl child issue already available. They came mainly from the UNESCO Regional Clearing House on Population Education collection as well as from the libraries of UNICEF, ILO, and CST, Bangkok. The actual lessons and teaching/learning materials were also derived from education materials produced under the women’s programmes and HIV/AIDS of UNESCO and its population education programmes funded by UNFPA. A few others were obtained from other international organizations and countries in this region. Acknowledgement is due to the staff of the Clearing House for assisting the authors in literature searching, retrieving, photocopying and putting the bibliography in order.

CHAPTER ONE: Background


Figure

Discrimination on the basis of sex is prevalent in all societies, and often starts at the earliest stages of life. A woman's worth and status is considered to be lower than a man's, and therefore the girl child is devalued. Preference for sons operates at all levels of the society - rich or poor, urban or rural. The girl child, more often than not, comes into the world unwelcome and therefore she is neglected.

Gender bias in the outcome of a complex combination of cultural and social attitudes, traditional beliefs and practices based on patriarchy and often aggravated by economic circumstances.

In many societies, sons carry on the lineage and the family name, perform funeral or burial rites for parents and religions rituals for ancestors. Daughters whereas, are viewed as transient, to be given away in marriage. Her productivity and fertility would then benefit her husband and his family.

A girl child is disadvantaged from birth. Families make conscious or unconscious decisions on intra-family resource allocation. In the context of scarcity, they allocate their limited resources in a way that would give the best returns, viz. to sons. The daughters are discriminated against in access to food, clothing, health care and education.

Access to food

It is well known that mothers give more frequent breast feeding and pay more attention to male infants. Boys get a larger share of the food than do girls. Even in well-off families, boys get the best in terms of food, clothing, educational materials, toys, equipment for games, and other goods.

Access to medical attention

Girls have less access to medical attention, health care facilities and routine immunization. A sick girl child is often ignored and taken for medical treatment when her condition is serious. In the case of a boy child, parents seek medical attention more promptly.

Access to education

A girl child has lower chance of being educated. Investment in the education of girls is not considered to yield adequate returns. She may be enrolled in school, but when her work is needed at home to help in housework, to mind younger siblings or to fetch and carry fuel, fodder, water or food for the men working in the field, she is kept back from school. A boy child's education is taken more seriously.

Higher education and vocational education are often denied to girls, not always because of lack of resources, but more often because it may give her ideas of independence and make her unsuitable for marriage, or because higher education is not required to carry out housework or for her roles as wife and mother.

Unrecognized work

The work of the girl child in agriculture, in unorganized house based industry and in the informal sector in general, goes unnoticed, non-quantified, unrewarded and therefore undervalued by society.

Traditional practices

Certain traditional practices are exploitative and harmful to the health and well-being of girls. Female genital mutilation, practiced in large parts of Africa and West Asia, has severe health implications and psychological trauma. Dowry demands at the time of marriage, place a great burden on the parents of the bride. Birth of a girl child is dreaded by the family partly because of the dowry implications. The custom of paying a bride price in several African societies, make a woman or a girl-bride a virtual property of her husband.

Gender bias starts even before birth. Foetal sex determination and abortion of female foetus is a growing menace in some countries. Infanticide of girl babies through deliberate neglect or withdrawal of food or by using some other means is not uncommon.

Sexual exploitation

Girl children are vulnerable to sexual exploitation within the family and commercially. Incest and other forms of sexual exploitation of girls by family members go unnoticed and unpunished because these are covered up by the family. In large parts of the world, women and young girls have to carry the entire burden of family “honour” any deviation from the strictly defined norms, whether done willingly or under duress, is considered unacceptable. A girl who has brought “dishonour”, often loses her place in the family.

Increasing urbanization, loss of traditional means of livelihood, loss of extended family support, the social evils of urban slums and growing tourism, have contributed to widespread trafficking in children and child prostitution. Girls are often forced into prostitution under debt-bondage, sold by their poor parents. These minor girls are forced to work under exploitative, coercive and unhygienic conditions without any access to health care or protection against sexually communicable diseases.

The low value placed by society and family on the role of women, affect the self-image and self-esteem of the girl child.

“Devalued as a child, denied equal access to education and often devoid of skills, she carries into her womanhood all the accumulated burdens of her past......1

CHAPTER TWO: Present Status of Girl Child


Figure

In the areas of:

Ö Education
Ö Nutrition and health care
Ö Marriage and family life
Ö Harmful cultural practices, values and traditions
Ö Child labour
Ö Prostitution, sexual abuse, STDs and HIV/AIDS

A. Education

Education can change a woman's life. It increases a woman's chances for paid employment and her earning power; it delays her age at marriage and strengthen her control over childbearing; enhances her ability to take care of her own health and the health of her children and thereby reduces infant mortality. The educational bias against girls and the low earning power of adult women form a vicious circle, perpetuating discrimination against girls and women in households and societies.

“In 1990, 130 million children had no access to primary school; of these 81 million were girls.”2

“Gender-biased educational processes, including curricula, education materials and practices, teachers attitudes, and classroom interaction, reinforce existing gender bias.”3

Traditional female and male roles are reinforced through the education system because of lack of gender awareness on the part of educators.

There are 960 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are female. Literacy levels are increasing, yet there are significant regional and inter-regional variations, as shown in the chart in the next page.

The gender gap in literacy is still persisting. In India, for example, literacy rates are 39 per cent among women and 64 per cent among men. In Egypt, it is 27 per cent for women as compared to 63 per cent for men.4

Primary school enrolment for girls has been increasing worldwide and the gender gap at this level is narrowing worldwide, except in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia.5

Nearly all girls of school going age are enrolled in primary or secondary school in North America, Australia, Japan and much of Western Europe. For other regions the figures vary widely, from universal enrolment in Barbados, to 9 per cent enrollment in Afghanistan.6

At the secondary school level, the proportion of girls to boys drop significantly.

One-third of all developing countries do not have school systems that are adequate to educate all their children. Whenever places in school are limited, girls are at a particular disadvantage.


Chart 1: Growth in female literacy levels

Source: UNESCO, World Education Report 1993.

Chart 2: Percentage of female enrolment by level of education and region


SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA


EAST ASIA


ARAB STATES


SOUTH ASIA

Source: UNESCO, Trends and Projections of Enrolment by Level of Education and by Age, 1960-2025 (as assessed in 1993)

In Many countries, the school drop out rate is much higher among girls than among boys.

“A survey in India, for example, found that while 60 per cent of rural children were enrolled in school, only 15 per cent of girls remained after five years, compared to 35 per cent among boys.”7

In the Asia-Pacific region, wide gender differences at the primary and secondary school level is found in South Asia (excluding Sri Lanka). In these countries, the female ratio at the primary level is 40 to 70 per cent of the male ratio.8

Lower enrolment rates and higher school drop-out rates for girls reflect the lower value that households place on educating girls. This itself reflects the low status of women in society. In the context of poverty, the households allocate their limited resources to educate the male children only. The economic arguments against educating girls, reinforce the traditional bias.

Education costs include not only the direct costs of tuition, textbooks, school uniform etc., but also opportunity costs of work foregone by daughters - whether it is housework or minding the siblings or work in the market place. One must also include the hidden cost of going against the society's norms regarding the conduct and behaviour of girls and the expectations from them.

A large proportion of the worlds population live in rural areas and it is in rural areas that female illiteracy predominates. Children in rural households help with housework, in fetching and carrying fuel and water, took after younger siblings, help in home based income generating activities, in cultivating the land and marketing the product.

“Because of cultural and labour market restrictions on women's work in many poor countries, the private benefits to the family that pays for a daughters education are often not large enough to offset the cost.”9

Traditional beliefs and cultural practices place the bulk of this burden on girls. Therefore, avoiding interference with the demands of rural life is most important if the girl child is to have equal access to education. Flexible school hours, and calendars, childcare centres at school and locating schools close to the village will allow girls to continue their education without interfering with their responsibilities at home.

For poor families, education must be free. Scholarships and other financial support to encourage school enrolment of girls is necessary in societies where girls education and status are undervalued.

“In Bangladesh, for example, a United States Agency for International Development project provided secondary scholarships to girls living in project areas, increasing enrollment by nearly 50 per cent ______”10

“In Peru, a study found that girls were three times more likely to enroll in school if textbooks were provided free of charge; no corresponding changes in male enrollment were reported.”11

In the absence of educated or even literate adult women in the household, a role model for young girls can be provided by women teachers. It is important to train and recruit teachers locally. When teachers are familiar with the local customs, traditions and lifestyle, they are trusted by the people and can provide effective counselling to parents and students regarding the value of educating girls.

Educational projects, should target girls as the main beneficiary. A multi pronged approach and a conscious decision should be made to enroll and retain the maximum possible number of girls in schools.


Chart 3: Increase in enrolment ratios for girls aged 6-11

Source: UNESCO, Trends and Projections of Enrolment by Level of Education and by Age, 1960-2025 (as assessed in 1993)

Chart 4: School enrolment rates (percentage of those in the appropriate age groups who are actually enrolled)

Major Goal: Universal Access to Basic Education

Indicator: Gross Enrolment Ratio at Primary School Level-Male

EAP COUNTRIES
(excl. Pacific Islands)

1980

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990@

VERY HIGH U5MR









CAMBODIA

CAM








LAO, PDR

LAO

123

121


122

123 @

124 @

125

HIGH U5MR









INDONESIA

IDN

115

121

120

121

121

122 @

123

MONGOLIA

MNG

108

104

100

101 @

101 @

102 @

103

MYANMAR (BURMA)

MYR

93

101

107

106

107 @

108 @

108

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

PNG

66



75

76

79

80

PHILIPPINES

PHL

113

106

107

107

109

110 @

111

VIET NAM

VNM

111

105



107

107 @

108

MIDDLE U5MR









CHINA

CHN

121

132

137 (137)

140

142 (132)

143 @

144

KOREA, DPR

PRK




100

101 @

101 @

102

KOREA, REP

KOR

109


98

101

104

107

108

MALAYSIA

MYS

93

101


102

102

103 @

104

THAILAND

THA

100







LOW U5MR









SINGAPORE

SGP

109


116

114

112

110

111

Source: UNESCO Yearbook 1990. @ = Estimated figures.

Note:

1. Projections based on the average annual growth rate of Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, Average Growth Rate = .0074.

2. Figures in brackets are provided by country offices.


Chart 5: Gross enrolment in primary school, 1990 (female as percentage of male)

Source: UNESCO.

Chart 6: Gross enrolment ratio of primary school level-female

Major Goal: Universal Access to Basic Education

Indicator: Gross Enrolment Ratio at Primary School Level-Female

EAP COUNTRIES
(excl. Pacific Islands)

1980

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990@

VERY HIGH U5MR









CAMBODIA

CAM








LAO, PDR

LAO

104

100


98

99 @

100 @

101

HIGH U5MR









INDONESIA

IDN

100

114

115

115

117

118 @

120

MONGOLIA

MNG

105

106

103

104 @

105 @

106 @

108

MYANMAR (BURMA)

MYR

89

96

100

100

101 @

102 @

103

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

PNG

51



64

65

67

68

PHILIPPINES

PHL

113

107

106

110

111

112 @

113

VIET NAM

VNM

106

99

100 @

101 @

102 @

103 @

105

MIDDLE U5MR









CHINA

CHN

103

114

120 (125)

124

126 (122)

127 @

129

KOREA, DPR

PRK




100

101 @

102 @

103

KOREA, REP

KOR

111


99

101

104

108

109

MALAYSIA

MYS

92

100


102

102

103 @

104

THAILAND

THA

97







LOW U5MR









SINGAPORE

SGP

106


113

111

110

107

108

Source: UNESCO Yearbook 1990. @ = Estimated figures.

Note:

1. Projections based on the average annual growth rate of Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia, Average Growth Rate = 0.0109.

2. Figures in brackets are provided by country offices.


Chart 7: Female illiteracy rate, 1990 and 2000 as percentage of male

Source: UNESCO, 1990.

B. Nutrition and Health Care

Discrimination against the girl child extend to her access to nutrition and healthcare services, jeopardizing her current and future health. Intra-household distribution of resources in large parts of the world, favour men and boys over women and girls. “An estimated 450 million adult women in developing countries are stunted as result of childhood protein-energy malnutrition.”12

Females have certain biological advantages over males. Girl babies are stronger and less susceptible to infection compared to boy babies but this can be reversed by outside factors such as malnutrition, neglect, and lack of healthcare.

“In thirty developing countries, death rates for girls between the ages of one and four years, have been found to be higher than or equal to those of boys, whereas in industrialized countries death rates for boys are generally higher than for girls.”13 “When boys and girls receive the same care, the chances of girls surviving the first five years of life are I per cent greater than for boys.”14

Again, because of biological advantages, women have a longer average life expectancy than men, when they have equal access to food and health care. The differences in female and male life expectancies are narrower in poor countries than in rich countries. The norm is in fact reversed in some countries, average life expectancy for men being higher than for women. This indicates discrimination against females in terms of nutrition and health care; discrimination that starts early in the life of the girl child and carried into her adult life.

Studies show that girl babies are breast fed less frequently and for a shorter period than boy babies. This is a disadvantage even when alternative source of milk is available, but it can be critical in the absence of alternative sources-resulting in severe malnutrition and death.

Chart 8: Deaths per 1,000 population aged 2-5 years

Higher mortality rates among girls aged 2-5 years have been found in demographic and health surveys in a significant


Deaths per year 1,000 population aged 2-5 years


Girls

Boys

Pakistan

54.4

36.9

Haiti

61.2

47.8

Bangladesh

68.6

57.7

Thailand

26.8

17.3

Syria

14.6

9.3

Colombia

24.8

20.5

Costa Rica

8.1

4.8

Nepal

60.7

57.7

Dominican Republic

20.2

17.2

Philippines

21.9

19.1

Sri Lanka

18.7

16.3

Peru

30.8

28.8

Mexico

16.7

14.7

Panama

8.7

7.6

Turkey

19.5

18.4

Republic of Korea

12.7

11.8

Venezuela

8.4

7.6

Source: Compiled by UNICEF from national survey reports of the World Fertility Survey programme.

Intra-household resource allocation usually favours boys. Parents perception of sons as bearers of the family name and lineage and source of financial support in the future, places a much higher value on boys as compared to girls who would be married off and belong to a different family. This bias against girls in food, results in girls having a lower nutritional status than boys. “A study of 898 villages around the world found that males are usually given priority over females in the family food distribution system.”15 In poor households, scarcity of resources can have dangerous implication for girls, but even in better off households, boys get priority access to the best food and are often given larger helpings.

Gender bias prevails in access to medical treatment and healthcare services. Throughout the world, more male children are immunized and treated by hospitals as compared to female children. “In a community health project in South Korea, immunization rates were equal for girls and boys when provided without a fee, but the proportion of girls fell to 25 per cent as soon as a small fee was charged.”16

Illness of a girl child is often ignored and medical treatment sought for her only when her condition is serious, whereas in the case of boys, medical attention is sought promptly.

Deprivation of food and lack of access to health care during the critical childhood years, affects the entire life of a woman. Poor health of mothers is perpetuated from mother to child. This inter-generational perpetuation of ill health for women and girls is illustrated here:

C. Marriage and Family Life

The status of women in society is closely linked to their age at marriage. The age at which a woman marries, has clear implications for her health, her personal development, her access to education and training and the number of children she would have.

There is a clear link between a girl's access to education, and the age at which she marries. The higher the level of education, the later the age at marriage.

“Worldwide, the average age of first marriage is rising to around twenty years for women, due to longer time spent at full time education. This global figure hides a much lower average in some countries.”17

“More than two-third of girls aged 19 or younger have already been married in Bangladesh and more than half in Afghanistan, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, North Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, some of them soon after reaching puberty.”18


Chart 9: The perpetuation of poor health among women and girls

Source: Winikoff, B. “Women's Health in the Developing Countries” in Wallace, H. M. and Girl, K. Health Care of Women and Children in Developing Countries, Third Party Publishing Company, California, 1990, p. 168.

Teenage marriage is more common in the developing countries in general and in rural areas in particular, reflecting stronger adherence to traditional values, lack of educational facilities and employment opportunities for girls.

Most countries have enacted legislation to raise the age at marriage and also to improve women's reproductive health. However, much more has to be done before the reality changes.

“More than 15 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year.”19

Teenage pregnancy, usually the effect of marriage, can seriously jeopardize a girls health and the health of her children. “Teenage mothers have a high risk for maternal and infant mortality-twice that of mothers aged 20 to 24.”20

“In Mauritania, 39 per cent of girls are married by age 15, and 15 per cent have given birth. In Bangladesh, 73 per cent of girls are married by age 15 and 21 per cent have at least one child.”21

A survey shows that in Bangladesh, one in six 15 year olds will not survive her childbearing years, (about one-third of these deaths relate to pregnancy and childbirth).22

Teenage pregnancy is common among the urban poor worldwide. Urbanization, and the consequent socio-economic problems such as the breakdown of family ties and support system, congested urban slums, unemployment, and drug abuse, have created an environment where girls become sexually active early. In the absence of counselling, ignorance about availability and use of contraceptive methods, many adolescents become pregnant.

“Worldwide there are about one billion teenagers and each year 15 million of them become pregnant.”23

Early pregnancy limits the girls' chances for education and paid employment.


Chart 10: Vicious circle of malnutrition

Source: Population Information Programme, 1988.


Chart 11: Minimum age of marriage

Women's ability to make decisions concerning reproductive lives is linked to their status within the family and the ability to make decisions regarding their marriage. Where the minimum age of marriage remains low, women are exposed to the dangers to their be of early and frequent pregnancy. As the chart shows, traditional practices often persist despite improvements in the law.

Source: International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1999.

Early marriage and childbearing are closely linked to high total fertility.

“In the countries studied, where the majority of girls aged 15 to 19 have been married, women bear, on average, six to seven children, three or more times as many as women in countries with late marriage.”24

The socio-religious norms in many communities consider it “unethical” to keep a daughter unmarried beyond a certain age (which could even be 12 years). An unmarried teenager's virtue is suspected. Religious texts are interpreted to reinforce these beliefs.

In most societies, marriage is not an egalitarian institution. Men are allowed to dominate sexual, psychological and socio-economic relations. This inequality is further reinforced when marriages are arranged between adolescent girls and much older men. A wide age difference between the husband and the wife further weakens the position of the wife in terms of household decision making, autonomy and control over her own fertility.

Many girls are given in polygamous marriages. Polygamy is usually associated with a wide age gap between husband and wife. The issue of inherent inequality within polygamous marriages has been raised by many.

Social customs associated with marriage such as dowry and bride price, undermine the status of girls and women. The payment of dowry by the bride's family can be a major financial burden on the parents, and the girl child is perceived by them as a financial liability, further weakening her status within the household. Non-payment of dowry can jeopardize her position in her husband's family.

Strangely, the reverse of this viz., the payment of bride price by the groom, also weakens the status of women. Under some customary laws, the payment of bride price makes the wife a property of her husband and the husband has the sole custody of the children if there is a divorce. When the wife seeks separation, the husband can demand the repayment of the bride price.

The family is perceived as the natural context in which children are born and raised. The division of roles and responsibilities within the family has not been questioned until recently. A young girl is conditioned from early childhood to look after others, to be obedient, to conform. Her principal roles in life are perceived to be a wife and a mother. Her dreams about attainments beyond motherhood often remain as dreams.

D. Harmful Cultural Practices, Values and Traditions

Traditions of patriarchy, unequal power balance between men and the desire to control women's sexuality, have led to certain cultural practices, values and traditions that are harmful to the girl child and undermine her worth.

Genital mutilation is frequently referred to as female circumcision. This is misleading, as it implies that the procedure is similar to male circumcision, which involves only the removal of skin. For women, the procedure is far more invasive and dangerous, and has many different variations.

There are three main forms of genital mutilation. In the mildest from, the tip of the clitoris is cut off. In the second form, the entire clitoris and part of the outer genitalia are removed. In its extreme form, known as infibulation, the procedure involves the removal of the external genitalia and stitching up of the two sides of the vagina to leave only a tiny opening for the passage of urine and stitching up two sides of the vagina to leave only a tiny opening for menstrual blood.25

The age of the child when subjected to this practice varies from a few days old to adolescent and sometimes practiced shortly before marriage or when a woman has just given birth.

“Female genital mutilation is a major public health issue: an estimated 80 million women world-wide have undergone the procedure. It is practiced, in one form or another, in around 40 countries, mostly in East and West Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula. As a result of migration from these areas it is now also practiced in Europe and North America.”

Female genital mutilation destroys a zone of sexual pleasure. Although the origin of this practice is not clear, it is believed that the practice has much to do with the desire to control female sexuality, preserve the monogamous status of women and protect family lineage.

This practice has serious health consequences. It is generally performed outside the medical system using unclean instruments. It is performed without anesthesia and is extremely painful. There is the immediate risk of death from shock or severe bleeding and later the risk of infection such as septicemia and tetanus. The longer term consequences include pain during sexual intercourse, complication during childbirth, possible infertility because of infection, vulnerability to HIV and lifelong psychological trauma.

Several countries have passed legislation forbidding female genital mutilation. However, the practice is rooted in tradition, and it will require governments, social workers, and NGOs to work in a concerted way through national and community education programmes before this extremely harmful practice is eradicated.

Son preference is worldwide and reflects the patriarchal traditions of most societies. In many traditional societies, son preference has led to the female infanticide and foeticide.

Technology designed to detect abnormalities in the foetus, is now being used to determine the sex of the foetus. If it is a female foetus, it is aborted.

“The result of a study of 700 pregnant women in India who received genetic amniocentesis showed that only 20 of the 450 women told they would have a daughter, went through with the pregnancy. All the 250 male infants predicted, even where a genetic disorder was likely, were carried to full term.”26

Quantitative information on female infanticide is scarce. “It is estimated that the one child policy in China has resulted in the deaths of more than one million first-born girl infants.”27 Several studies of parental preference in Africa and Asia show that parents prefer to have sons.

Neglect of girl children, foeticide and infanticide account for adverse sex ratio in many countries.

The sex ratio for India decreased from 934 women to 1,000 men in 1981, to 929 women to 1,000 men in 1991.28

Estimates of “missing” women, who have died prematurely from the consequences of gender bias, give the staggering figure of 100 million.”29

E. Child Labour

Worldwide between 20 million to 40 million children work. Asia alone has about 150 million child workers.30

The magnitude and extent of child labour is not easy to estimate because: children below the minimum legal age for work, but actually working, are not counted in official statistics; large number of children work in home based industries and what is known as informal sector enterprises which are not registered; child workers who are invisible - working as domestic workers, sexually exploited children, engaged in illegal activities, or confined to factories or mines.

Labour laws

Most countries have labour laws to protect children, although the scope varies. In some Asian countries child labour is not prohibited, but regulated. Regulations extend to prohibition of child employment in some occupations, limiting hours of work, etc.

Bulk of working children are found in rural areas. In India and in the Philippines, more than 8 per cent of the children aged 10 to 14 years are in rural areas.

For low income households in Africa, Latin America and Asia, children are a source of additional labour power. Young girls help in collecting water, fuel and food and girls and boys help in farming, selling farm products in the markets.

Gender differentiated data are not available for child workers. Girls are less visible among the child workers in factories and mines and even among “street children”. In collecting information and designing programmes, girl workers are often bypassed. However, girls predominate as domestic workers, sex workers, workers in home based industries and some factory based industries such as garment industry.

No official estimate

No official estimate of child domestic workers is available, the numbers must be in millions worldwide. Children working as domestic servants are extremely vulnerable and difficult to protect because they are confined to the household without much contact with the outside world. These children cannot be contacted without the cooperation of their employers.

Employing children as domestic servants is not regarded as exploitative in many societies. The employers are often regarded as benefactors. However, children engaged as servants often work for long hours for very low wages and sometimes without wages just for food and shelter. They are not members of any trade union and are not legally recognized as workers. Their wages are not required to conform to the legal minimum wage, and can be dismissed without any compensation.

There are millions of children who work as bonded labour. Estimates say that in the Indian subcontinent, there are 20 million children working in debt bondage, 15 million of them in India alone.31

Children are bonded because of indebtedness of parents, or they are lured under false pretext and not allowed to leave. Children in bonded labour is common both in rural and urban areas. They also work in small enterprises, service industries, drug trafficking and prostitution. Poverty, ignorance, lack of awareness of opportunities, ignorance of legal rights, all contribute to the continuation of bonded labour, in spite of legislation against the practice. “It is a situation where children are enmeshed in two systems of exploitation, that of child labour and that of servitude.”32

Gender disaggregated date are not available for children working in factories, but the garment industry in Bangladesh for example, employs a large proportion of girls. They start work on average when they are 11 years plus. They work long hours, receive less than what adult workers receive, work under cramped conditions and have to forego formal education.

Garment manufacturing in other Asian countries too tend to employ mainly women and children.

The bangle industry in Pakistan engages women and child workers. They work under harsh conditions of excessive heat, lack of protective clothing, danger of burns. Match and fireworks factories in Shivakashi, India employ 50,000 children including some very young children.33 Again separate data for girls are not available.

In Thailand, 95,000-120,000 children are employed in the industrial sector.34 Children are engaged in food packaging and processing, garments manufacturing, and leather industry.

Children often work under hazardous conditions in factories. Long hours of work under cramped condition, poor lighting and ventilation, pollution and low safety standards, make the children vulnerable to debilitating diseases and disabilities.

F. Prostitution, Sexual Abuse, STDs and AIDS

Child prostitution is the worst form of exploitation in society. “According to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) estimates there are over one million sexually exploited children in under 16 years of age in eight Asian countries alone ....”35 Children exploited in commercial sex trade, are in a form of slavery or bondage.

An estimate shows that there are 100,000 Nepali women involved in prostitution in Indian cities. Of them 20 per cent are below 14 years.36

Poverty and indebtedness among the rural poor is the most obvious cause of child prostitution. Parents sell their daughters in bonded labour to procurers, to repay debts. Sometimes the girls themselves, are tricked into prostitution under false pretexts. In some villages in northern Thailand up to 60 to 70 per cent of young girls aged 11 years and above, are involved in the sex trade.37

However, rural poverty is not the only underlying cause. Urbanization, fragmentation of families and breakdown of traditional family ties, life in urban slums, and rapid flow of cash through international tourism have all contributed to trafficking in children. Girls end up in prostitution through bogus marriages, domestic labour, false adoption, clandestine employment and immigration. The fundamental reason for sexual exploitation of girls is the low status accorded to women by society.

Children in prostitution lead a miserable existence and are at great risk. The entire traffick is clandestine, and cross international borders. The children are confined to brothels, and forced to “work” under circumstances over which they have no control-long hours, poor wages, unhygienic surroundings unprotected sex and physical and psychological abuse. They rarely have any access to health care facilities and are specially vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. Reports from Thailand indicate that 60 to 70 per cent of girls in brothels are now HIV positive.38

There are special prohibitions on sexual exploitation of children and trafficking in children, which have been codified in 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Violence is often gender based, violence directed against women and girls because of their sex. It may take the form of sexual molestation, incest or rape.

Young girls face physical and sexual abuse within the family in all social and racial groups. Sexual abuse of girls by family members especially incest, remains a closely guarded family secret. The family is the basic social unit, where children are protected and nurtured, yet girls are exposed to abuse within that unit, their trust and vulnerability is exploited. Girls being abused within the family are impossible to reach by any outside agency. These crimes go undetected and unpunished. In traditional societies, the girls themselves have to take the blame, some are disclaimed by their families, many leave their homes and lacking any other means of livelihood, turn to prostitution. Studies show that a large proportion of children involved in prostitution had been sexually abused by their family members or guardians.

Rape of a girl by someone outside the family is not always reported because of the notion of privacy of the family and protection of the girls reputation. Moreover, in most legal systems, rape is difficult to prove unless the victim is taken to the authorities immediately. Law enforcement officials are often skeptical of such cases, or lack the required training to handle such cases. The complexity of the legal system and the length of time involved to complete the process also act as deterrents on the family of the victim.

Most countries have laws against sexual relations with a child below 16 years of age. The offense is deemed to be statutory rape and the question of consent does not arise. However, enforcement of the laws has been extremely weak in most countries.

CHAPTER THREE: Strategies to Promote Female Education


Figure

PROMOTING FEMALE EDUCATION

Barriers to Girls Education

Wide gender gaps persist at all levels of education, including the most basic one viz. primary school enrolment. To understand why fewer girls than boys enrol in schools and more girls than boys drop out of school, one has to consider a complex web of cultural, social and economic factors that affect the education of boys and girls differently.

1. Cultures and traditions that perpetuate gender differences in education

· Sons look after their parents in their old age, while daughters marry out of their own families at a young age and join their husbands families.

· Sons are valued for their anticipated financial contribution to the household whereas the daughters economic contribution, if at all, and her fertility would benefit her husbands family.

· Prevalence of son preference, and certain traditional beliefs and practices results in neglect of girls in terms of health care and nutrition.

· When a society practices seclusion of women, girls may only attend sex-segregated schools which means that girls' access to education depends on the availability of Single Sex schools.

2. Direct costs and opportunity costs of educating girls

· Poverty has an enormous impact on a girls chances of schooling. Such households allocate their limited resources to the education of sons because it is believed that is likely to bring larger benefit to the household in terms of future income.

· In rural households in particular, child labour is essential for the maintenance of the household. Like adult women they perform economic activities, plus they also perform household work like cooking, cleaning, fetching water and fuel and taking care of younger siblings. Thus, they are more likely to be taken out of school.

3. The distance of schools places girls' safety at risk and therefore it is a factor constraining girls enrolment

· “In Egypt, for example, 94 per cent of boys and 72 per cent of girls were enrolled when a school was located on kilometer form their homes. When schools were two kilometers away, enrollment among boys dropped marginally to 90 per cent, but much more dramatically for girls to 64 per cent.”39

4. Availability of female teachers can also determine enrolment. Many parents in traditional societies are more willing to send their daughters to school if there are women teachers

· “In low income countries, only one-third of primary, less than one-fourth of secondary and less then one-tenth if tertiary education teachers are women.”40 A study in Yemen found that girls' enrolment dropped to almost zero after grade three because female teachers were not available.

5. Rigid school timing makes it extremely difficult for girls to perform their housework and attend school, especially in rural areas

6. The curricula is not really relevant to the life style of rural women and the potential role of girls as wives and mothers in rural household

· Curricula that help girls fulfill their traditional roles better, yet not keep them out of wider opportunities and curricula which are relevant and gender sensitive can make a significant difference.

7. Parental educational levels are linked to girls' enrolment and educational attainment

· Uneducated parents are usually unaware of the benefits of educating girls and women in terms of current health and welfare of the family and in terms of its intergenerational effects. Improved educational levels among parents has a positive impact on girls' education. There is some evidence to suggest that mother's educational level is more strongly linked to educational levels of daughters.

8. Public investment in education, especially in educating women, has been inadequate

· “In developing countries as a whole, expenditures on education averaged 15 per cent, of total budgetary outlays.”41 Within the restricted financing, expenditure on girls education has been even more restricted. In large parts of the world, socio-cultural beliefs require sex-segregated schools. Yet, fewer schools are available for girls, and girls have to travel longer distances to school. Girls' schools experience financial difficulties, shortage of teachers and textbooks and have inadequate physical facilities such as toilets, play fields, classrooms etc.


Chart 12: Effects of distance on enrolment

Strategies to Promote Female Education

In any country, participation of girls in the educational system depends on demand on the part of parents for girls schooling and the supply of educational services on the part of the public and the private sector.

To improve the literacy and educational level of girls, the educational system must be able to:

Ö Increase the availability or supply of education by increasing the number of school places for girls.

Ö Improve the accessibility of education by increasing the benefits and lowering the cost of educating girls.

The goals for an effective programme would be to:

· Increase primary school enrollment of girls.

· Increase primary school completion of girls.

· Reduce drop out rates of girls.

· Increase the proportion of women teachers, administrators and supervisors.

· Increase demand for girls' education.


Chart 13: The supply/demand paradigm

Strategies

A. Greater support of single-sex schools

In countries and communities where segregation of the sexes and seclusion of women is the norm, the only way a girl can attain some education is by attending a girls' school.

Parents may be willing to send their daughters to a co-educational primary school, but once the girls reach puberty they are withdrawn from such schools and sent to girls' schools, if available.

“In India, 20 per cent of the girls leave school at puberty, in large part because of the lack of separate facilities. In Yemen, retention of girls to the sixth grade was positively correlated with the availability of local, female-only schools.”42

Adequate financial support must be provided for girls schools in sex-segregated systems. This would improve access, efficiency and quality of education.

B. Locate schools closer to communities

Reducing the distance that girls travel to go to school will encourage their enrollment. Parents are less worried about the safety of their daughters when schools are located near the communities.

Bhutan and Bangladesh have successfully experimented with low cost ways of bringing schools within walking distance from home. The feeder schools systems in Bhutan (supported by UNICEF) and in Bangladesh (initialed by UNICEF and supported by the World Bank), have been highly successful. Feeder or satellite schools offer the first two years of primary education and located near the communities, but often at a distance from the primary schools. By avoiding the need for transportation for young girls, this strategy has increased girls' enrolment.43

C. Promote hiring of women teachers

Women teachers improve enrolment and retention of girls in schools because:

I) In many societies, the presence of women teachers reduces the parents' worries about the safety and morality of their daughters and encourages girls' participation.

II) Women teachers provide girls with positive role models, especially in the context of mothers being uneducated.

International cross-sectional data suggest positive correlation between the proportion of women teachers and enrollment parity.44

In Africa, the Middle-East and Asia, only 20 to 45 per cent of the teachers at the primary level and less than 40 per cent of the teachers or the secondary level are women. The reasons are many: few women with the required educational background; constraints on mobility of women; lack of training programmers; lack of living accommodation for women teachers in villages; unwillingness of educated city women to work in rural areas. To counteract these difficulties, intervention is needed in the form of well planned strategies.

Qualified women should be given incentives to overcome certain cultural, social and economic constraints that prevent them from taking up teaching positions. Incentives may be monetary, such as lower tuition or scholarships to attend training programmes; non-monetary incentives may include hostel facilities for women teachers, housing arrangements, flexible schedules and creches for children of teacher trainees etc.

Teacher training programmes should be brought nearer the communities. In Yemen, an UNICEF assisted programme involves primary school teacher training in existing secondary schools in rural areas. Transport and a monthly stipend is provided. The drop-out rate is less then 1.5 per cent.45

D. Lower the costs to parents

In large parts of the developing world, little value is placed on girls education. This, along with the fact that educating children involves financial costs in terms of children's household and market related work forgone, explain why parents consider schooling girls less affordable. Therefore, costs must be reduced so that private returns on girls education in higher.

I) Scholarships

In areas where primary and secondary schooling are not free, scholarships covering tuition, textbook, and other facilities would encourage enrolment and retention.

A successful example is the Female Education Scholarship Programme in Bangladesh. Started in 1982, the project was designed to encourage girls to enroll and persist in junior secondary school, to delay marriage and increase contraceptives use. The programme gives monthly stipend to attend school on a regular basis. By 1988, the programme had reached 20,000 girls.46

II) Provide textbooks and uniforms

Even when school education is provided free, there are costs of textbooks and uniforms, which have to be funded by the parents. In resource scarce households, these expenditures are allocated for boys schooling. When textbooks, uniforms and other supplies are provided, parents do not have to make a choice and are more willing to send their daughters to school.

III) Reduce the opportunity costs of girls labour

In developing countries, girls contribute more to household productivity than do boys. Girls spend much of their time in housework, collecting and carrying fuel and water, food processing and child care. They also help in planting, harvesting and marketing products. Therefore, programmes must be designed to reduce the opportunity costs of girls schooling by reducing the need for their labour.

One way is to provide pre-school or day care facilities for younger siblings. This would not only free girls for schooling but also prepare the younger children for schooling later. China has a comprehensive programme of day-care facilities at work sites and at schools.

Another form of intervention is to introduce simple labour - saving technologies such as mechanical mills and water wells, which will give girls and women more free time to participate in educational programmes.

E. Modify curricula to suit practical needs

School curricula must be made more relevant to the girls' lives. It should link education with agriculture, animal raising, health and nutrition issues, and use the local language. At the same time it should avoid gender stereotyping. Expanding the formal curricula to include practical knowledge and skills that help girls to perform their daily tasks better would increase their chances of being enrolled and retained in schools.

School curricula must increase girls' future employment possibilities. Parents and girls must feel that completion of schooling will improve their future. School curricula must offer better vocational options for girls. Vocational and job related guidance programmes in schools will familiarize girls with skills that they need and how to obtain them. Curricula can be designed to provide technical skills such as accounting, machinery operation, food preservation etc.

Girls' access to science curricula, computer training and management training should be improved.

Population education is one example of a practically-oriented approach to curriculum development. It addresses topics designed to meet the needs of students. Topics include population and environment linkages, family life and human sexuality, demographic and development interrelationships. It is also an effective way of challenging conventional thinking that perpetuates gender inequity.

Advocacy and social mobilization are needed to raise awareness among policy makers, leaders and the entire society.

F. Promote advocacy and social mobilization

Advocacy and social mobilization are specially needed in cultures where girls are not allowed to participate in activities outside the home, where attitude about female education is very traditional, where poverty forces parents to make choices between sending boys and girls to school and where parents are illiterate and unfamiliar with the benefits of educating girls.

Communication strategies should be based on a careful assessment of target audience. Activities that involve parents (open house for example), help to breakdown communications barrier and generate community support for school programmes.

Reaching an audience of literate and influential leaders requires different methods and materials than reaching parents whose children do not attend school. Messages can encourage parents enroll and retain their daughters in school and to encourage parental participation.

Policy makers, NGOs, educators, parents and community leaders must work together to develop an action plan. Involvement of all levels of the community would help to ensure that the plan is appropriate for the targeted community. The ultimate goal should be to convince the villager, especially the fathers, that it is worthwhile to educate girls.

A variety of information and communication technologies, such as television, radio and films as well as more traditional modes like folk theater, traditional festivals etc. can be used for social mobilization.

Chart 14: Summary of strategies that work



FACTORS ADDRESSED

POSITIVE IMPACTS

STRATEGIES

INTERVENTIONS

SUPPLY

DEMAND

ACCESS

RETENTION

ACHIEVEMENT

1. Locate schools closer to communities

· Bring schools closer to communities







· Create culturally appropriate facilities, including provision for separate toilet and water supply

·

·

·

·

·


· Establish single-sex schools






2. Promote hiring of female teachers

· Increase the supply of female teachers







· Provide incentives

·

·

·

·

·


· Provide training locally






3. Lower the costs of parents

· Provide scholarships







· Provide textbooks and uniforms

·

·

·

·

·


· Address the opportunity costs of girls’ labour






4. Develop relevant curricula

· Render the curriculum more relevant







· Eliminate math and science gaps

·

·

·

·

·


· Account for the future, now






5. Increase community participation

· Support communities that show interest







· Solicit support of community leaders







· Involve parents in planning, management,


·

·

·

·


decision-making and advocacy







· Recruit teachers from the local community






6. Promote localization/decentralization

· Empower communities with responsibility, through local management mechanisms


·

·

·

·


· Formulate indicators to monitor progress







· Establish greater links among levels of administration






7. Promote advocacy and social mobilization

· Develop comprehensive strategy







· Prepare Action Plan


·

·

·

·


· Use “third channel” technologies







· Allocate sufficient resources for information dissemination






8. Design systems that accommodate the needs of female students

· Prepare diagnostic studies







· Design flexible schedules


·

·

·

·


· Provide instruction in discrete units






9. Support multiple delivery systems

· Encourage experimental “schools”







· Establish regional education resource centres







· Establish stronger links between the different systems

·

·

·

·

·


· Provide incentives to encourage participation in non-formal or non-traditional alternatives






CHAPTER FOUR: Benefits of Educating Girls


Figure

1. Lowers fertility

Education is perhaps the strongest variable affecting the status of women.47 Yet education of girls is often neglected.

Of the approximately 130 million out-of-school children, about 81 million are girls. Two-thirds of the estimated 948 million illiterate adults worldwide are women.48

All surveys and research findings reiterate that investing on educating girls and women is the best possible investment for development. Educated women are better able to perform their roles within the household, in the workforce and in the community.

Experts agree that education of girls and women is associated with reduced fertility. But to have a strong impact on fertility a girl must have completed primary school and have some secondary school education. With only literacy or with a few years at the primary school level education, fertility does not decline because it is not likely to delay marriage or increase awareness or modern birth control methods. But secondary level schooling is likely to delay marriage and increase a woman's awareness. Many studies have shown a correlation between girls having eight years of education and the use of contraception.

The most important link between female education and reduced fertility is the effect of education on the age at marriage. Delayed marriage delays the first pregnancy and the effect of this on the macro level is significant. Moreover, delayed first pregnancy reduces the fertile span in a woman's life. “In Brazil, for example, the average family size for women with secondary education is 2.5 children, compared to 6.5 children for women with no education.”49

Education improves a woman's awareness of her own worth, and the worth of daughters. The number of children and the number of sons which women consider desirable, decreases with increase in education. They are less likely to be influenced by family pressure and are aware of opportunities and fulfillment beyond motherhood.

The effect of female education on fertility is much stronger than the effect of male education.


Chart 15: Female education and population growth-selected countries

Sources: UNICEF, State of the World's Children 1991; UNDP, Human Development Report 1991.

2. Lowers infant mortality

There is considerable evidence that total fertility rate and infant mortality are strongly linked. Moreover, mortality of female children, especially in households with scarcity of resources, is likely to decline when mothers have some education. This is partly because values may change and partly because educated girls have the potential to get paid employment.

“Each additional year of schooling for girls has been found to result in decline in child mortality in the range of 5 to 10 per cent.”50

In Sri Lanka, the total Fertility Rate is 2.4 children per woman and infant mortality rate is 19; in the Republic of Korea, the rates are 1.8 and 17 respectively.51

3. Better health, nutrition and improved quality of life of family

Educated women are more likely to take advantage of health care services. They seek pre-natal and post natal care, immunize their children, seek medical help promptly for their sick children.

They are likely to take more care about the diet and nutrition of the family and follow sound standards of hygiene.

Women who have received some education are able to help their children to acquire basic educational skills of numeracy and literacy. They are more aware of the value of educating girl children.

They are likely to use their time more efficiently and be more receptive to new ideas.


Chart 16: Female education and child survival

Sources: UNICEF. State of the World’s Children 1991; UNDP, Human Development Report 1991.


Chart 17: Female education and child immunization

Sources: UNICEF, State of the World’s Children 1991; UNDP, Human Development Report 1991.

4. Greater economic productivity and access to employment

Employment opportunity and earning capacity improves with education. In India for example, earnings of women who had completed high school were one and a half times greater than those without any education and women with technical training earned three times more than did illiterate women.52

Studies show that each extra year at school gives a girl the potential to earn 10 to 20 per cent higher wages.

When a woman has access to a stable sources of income and need not depend on her children's labour, her perception changes. Children no longer represent a source of income but rather a cost; this gives a further incentive for fertility control.

5. Overall social and economic development

A high level of socio-economic development is associated with women's access to education. Educated women are in better control of their own lives and are better able to take care of their children. They have wider opportunities and higher earning power. As more and more girls are educated, they can be the catalysts of development.


Chart 18: The impact of girls' primary education

Chart 19: Women, the focus of the nineties

Some Beneficial Effects of Women’s Education

Lessons in life

A woman’s education is the single most important factor in determining how many children she bears and whether they survive.

EDUCATED WOMEN ... have fewer children


Figure

· In Brazil uneducated women give birth to 6.5 children. Those with secondary education bear only 2.5.

· In Liberia women secondary school graduates are ten times more likely to be using family planning than uneducated women.


Figure

CHILDREN ... of educated women live longer

· Four to six years of mothers’ schooling reduces deaths of children in their first 12 months by as much as 20%. Every additional year of education causes a drop of up to 9% in deaths of children up to the age of six.

· A 1% rise in women’s literacy is three times more effective in reducing child mortality than a 1% rise in the number of doctors.


Figure

CHILDREN ... of educated women are healthier

PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN AGED 0-5 WITH DIARRHOEA IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS


Figure

CRUCIAL COMBINATION ... health and education

· Educating mothers in certain Nigerian villages has resulted in 20% fewer child deaths. Providing health facilities reduced child deaths by 33%. But when village women had access to both health and education child death rates plunged by 87%.


Figure

Source: Sadik. N. “Women: The Focus of the Nineties”, Populi. Vol. 16 (2), 1989. p.11.

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51. Pierce, Catherine. Issues for Panel on Girls and Women’s Education, Women’s Empowerment and Population Issues. n.p.: n.d p. 3.

52. Pierce, Catherine. Issues for Panel on Girls and Women’s Education, When’s Empowerment and Population Issues. n.p.: n.d p. 3.