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Educating Women and Children A Moral Imperative. Prepared for Women Leaders for the World July 29, 2006 . Investment in children’s and women’s education provides returns for generations. HOPE .

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Educating Women and ChildrenA Moral Imperative

Prepared for

Women Leaders for the World

July 29, 2006



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HOPE returns for generations

“My mother speaks to me fondly of school days and how much she wished she could have stayed longer,” notes one of the 2,000 students in South Darfur.


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Facts about Basic Education in Developing Countries returns for generations

  • 121m children out of school worldwide; 53% are girls

  • 59% of children in sub-Saharan Africa are in primary school; over 1/3 drop out before 5th grade

  • 40m primary-school-age children are not in school in sub-Saharan Africa, or 39% of all primary-age school children

  • 250m children are involved in part- or full-time work, many in exploitative situations

  • More than 113m children never go to school

    Source: UNICEF, UN Population Fund


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  • Education returns for generations

  • Helps reduce poverty and inequality

  • Improves living standard – health

  • Enables the use of technologies

  • Promotes sustainability

  • Builds tolerance and understanding


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Approaches returns for generations

Educating women and children is not an option; it is a necessity. Hence we must:

  • Address the barriers that prevent them from attending and completing school

  • Reduce the burden of household chores on girls

  • Provide learning materials for schools to function effectively


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Approaches - returns for generations(Cont’d)

  • Develop policies and strategies aimed at changing the education system to improve participation of girls

  • Eliminate school fees

  • Advocate for parents and communities to give priority to educating their girls as well as boys

  • Establish standards that improve the quality of education for all children


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Approaches - returns for generations(Cont’d)

  • Invest in interventions that have proved to be successful at the local level. What Works? What Doesn’t Work?

  • Develop strong partnerships between governments, businesses, and schools

  • Develop a package approach toward improving the quality of education. Training teachers & improving the curriculum & improving sanitation around the school site


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Approaches - returns for generations(Cont’d)

  • Public awareness campaign - girl’s education is still undervalued in many communities

  • Increase female teachers – role models

  • Adequate school facilities – Safe for girls

  • Increase the political representation of women in governments. As of Nov. 2005, only 15-16 percent of legislative seats worldwide were held by women.


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Approaches returns for generations- (Cont’d)

Governments enact legislative measures to prohibit girls from withdrawing from school. Nigeria has imposed such a law and it appears to be working.

Provide scholarships to girls. Zambia has begun to provide scholarships to girls.


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Approaches returns for generations- (Cont’d)

  • Provide vocational and professional training for women

    Examples: the Czech Republic, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Portugal, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda do provide opportunities for vocational and professional training for girls.


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Approaches returns for generations- (Cont’d)

  • Develop affirmative action programs to encourage female students to take up science and technology and other non-traditional subjects

    Example: Austria, Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Portugal and Zambia


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Progress returns for generations

  • Since the end of the Taliban, 1 million Afghan girls have started school.

  • Women in remote villages of Africa are attending primary school with their children.

  • Several leading women’s organizations are providing the necessary funding to help women start their own business.

  • The abolition of school fees in Kenya in January 2003, for example, brought 1.3 million children to school in a single year.

    Source: UNICEF


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Thank you! returns for generations

Contact Information

Almaz Negash, Director

Global Leadership and Ethics

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Santa Clara University

E-mail: [email protected]

Tel: 1 (408) 554-7890


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