By Cynthia Richie on May 16, 2014
Getting a solid education is important for everyone because it leads to better jobs and a more secure future. However, earning a high income isn't the only motivator when it comes to educating women. According to a report compiled by the World Bank, women who are educated are more likely to protect their own agency (or freedom manage their own lives) and the agency of other women than those who do not have a good education. This information throws into sharp relief the significance of ensuring students, and females especially, are college and career ready by the time they graduate high school.
High stakes for women's rights
Unfortunately, women worldwide don't always receive the same freedoms as men, and that discrepancy is manifested in numerous ways. Some women suffer abusive relationships, don't own property or marry very young. In the U.S. alone, 21 percent of women have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Globally, about 142 million women will marry before the age of 18 in the next decade. Women are also grossly underrepresented in positions of power.
Despite all these statistics, women do have a way out: education. Ninety percent of women who do not earn more than a primary education will suffer either child marriage, violence in a relationship or a lack of control over their resources, according to the World Bank report. Only 18 percent of women with secondary and higher education will endure the same conditions.
"The persistent constraints and deprivations that prevent many of the world's women from achieving their potential have huge consequences for individuals, families, communities, and nations," Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group president, said in a statement. "Expanding women's ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities is critical to improving their lives as well as the world we all share."
Changing the world
The report also noted that when women are in positions of power, they influence their society to empower other women. Women in political office, for example, will place a high priority on women's rights, such as the ability to make reproductive decisions, own property or marry later in life. Such a reality should influence more women to seek higher education and work toward important offices. However, according to the nonprofit group Representation 2020, only about 20 percent of political offices in the U.S. are occupied by women. The U.S. ranks 95th worldwide in the percentage of women who hold high political offices in that country.
When women are educated, they protect themselves and others, which is why it's so vital that girls get the support they need in school. The Common Core State Standards emphasize college and career readiness for both girls and boys. Ideally, if girls are ready for college, they'll get their degree and change the world for the better.