The Special Committee on Governance is expected to discuss many issues during this conference. It is anticipated that the is- sue of increasing the quality of female education will spark a productive and ongoing debate, bringing the issue to center-stage.
According to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.” Further- more, it is now an indisputable fact that improving the education of women has various benefits. In a report released by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative [UNGEI], an organization committed to “narrowing the gender gap” in education, females who complete secondary education are “3 times less likely to contract HIV”. Also, increasing the number of women in secondary education by 1% can cause “per capita economic growth by 0.3%”
Despite these advantages, barriers towards female education continue to exist. The UNGEI estimates that “in 47 out of 54 African countries”, girls are 50% less likely to go to secondary school. Burkina Faso has an adult female literacy rate of just 8.1%, the lowest in the world. Many factors, primarily cultural and traditional norms, hinder the education of young girls and women; causing many people to believe that a woman’s place is only in her home.
When asked about how the situation of women’s education should be addressed, the delegate of Uganda replied: “Governments should give parents an incentive to send their daughters to school. For example, if daughters came back with food and water, parents would want their daughters to receive an education.”
It remains to be seen what measures the delegates will strive to set in order to improve the quality of female education.
By Lolwa Al Theyab
Picture by Yousra Ahmed