Let’s hear it for the girls!

by Tamara A.

A few weeks ago, as I walked to work, I noticed a scrolling headline on the Denver Post building that read, “Women surpass men in advanced college degrees”.  Finally.  It has been a long road for women, paved by our mothers and grandmothers.  I was proud to see that so many females are taking advantage of the opportunities that previous generations fought for and created.  Our role has evolved, not completely changed, but evolved.  While wives and mothers remain the primary caregivers, there are also women leading the charge as CEOs, Scientists, and Heads of State.  Our self-expression is welcomed outside of the stereotypical domestic responsibilities.  Respect feels great.

However, this is in the United States. 

While many other areas of the world can also boast of similar female progression, this isn’t true for many regions.  And sadly, these areas that lack this advancement are mainly developing countries that need a female touch to escape the cycle of poverty.  After all, when a woman earns income in the developing world, she reinvests 90% of it back into her family and community. 

Back in 2000, when the countries of the world adopted Millennium Development Goals, there was vow made to eradicate gender disparities existing within all education levels by the year 2015.  Here we are, 11 years later, 4 years from the deadline.  How close are we achieving our goal?

According to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, by the given deadline, only an estimated 85 out of 195 countries will have eliminated the gender disparity.  What’s more is that this list contains the wealthiest nations.  That is not to say that others have not made any advancement.  In fact, the majority of countries have closed the gap to some degree.  The question is: has the gap closed enough?

Women Watch (an inter-agency of the UN) reports that it is the countries with GDP per capita figures less than $3000 that are struggling the most to offer their girls the educational opportunities extended to their boys.  The southern and western areas of Asia, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, are lagging behind the rest of the world.  In these regions, only 87 girls for every 100 boys are attending primary school.  The gap widens with the higher levels of education.  For tertiary education, college, it is a mere 35 girls to every 100 boys.  However, it is consistently noted that females are more likely to finish each level of schooling once they have started.  Thus, it is that initial chance that they are waiting for.

I can’t imagine not having the opportunities of education.  I was brought up in a household and community where I was pushed and encouraged to dream big, work hard and achieve greatness.  There wasn’t a question if I would be able to complete high school or even a question if I would go to college.  It was a given.  While I have always loved education and been happy to study (I’m a self-proclaimed nerd), I am finding a greater appreciation for it now.  I am lucky.  Americans are lucky.  Now it is time to take our luck and offer that to those girls that are lacking. 

Join Edge of Seven is our quest to give these girls a chance.  A chance that you most likely have already been given.


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