How important is education for a woman

Gender Equality: Education For All?

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Girls' education is "the single most powerful investment a developing country can make," writes the World Bank. Messages from our members show that some African countries are taking this advice. But there is still no equality of opportunity for women in all of Africa.

A survey by the Alumniportal Deutschland from March 2016 to Focus on education, opportunities, perspectives. shows: The issue of gender equality is particularly important for our members. Many letters came from Africa.

“Nowadays, education is more important than anything else. In Africa we have a cultural problem: certain people think that girls are not suitable for going to school because they will get married and have children anyway. But slowly people are beginning to accept that women and girls go to school. You can already see a change in Africa - in me and in others. ”A user of the Alumniportal Deutschland from Ivory Coast wrote this message in response to an appeal from March 2016 to focus on the main topic Education.Chances.Perspectives. to.

Here are the most important facts about equal opportunities for women and education at a glance:

  • Around 781 million young people and adults worldwide can neither read nor write - around two thirds of them are women. According to figures from the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), around 58 million children of primary school age have no opportunity to go to school. It is suspected to be much higher.
  • Education is a human right. The international community has committed itself to improving the educational situation around the world. That was also one of the: By 2015 all children should have access to primary school and complete it. By then, gender equality should also be achieved at all educational levels.

No equal opportunities in Cameroon

"In Cameroon there is still no equality between men and women," says Berthe Ada Biwole. She made it anyway: As the daughter of a poor family who lives in a small village near the city of Ayos, she was able to attend high school, study in Cameroon and do her doctorate in Germany. “I had to finance everything myself, I didn't have a scholarship and my parents couldn't give me any money either.” Overall, everything took longer, but it was worth it: Today she works as a specialist for at the Bergische Solingen and takes part in the graduate program of the Bergische University of Wuppertal.

"But there are enough women from my immediate environment who have no training - because they are women," says Berthe Ada Biwole. “For example my friend, whose name I don't want to mention: she got pregnant when she was 14 years old. The father took no responsibility, she was left alone with the child. And she had to leave school. ”Because: According to Biwole, almost all schools in Cameroon provide in their school rules that pregnant girls are no longer allowed to attend classes. Just like in the subsequent two-year-old. The girls lose a total of three years, which in most cases cannot be made up.

Officials confirm that women in Cameroon are still disadvantaged. On the website of the national statistical office, in a summary of the Millennium Development Goals from October 2015, it can be read that equality between men and women has not yet been achieved. At the same time, however, it is pointed out that the genders have become very similar, especially with regard to access to education in primary and secondary schools.

Equal rights at lower levels of education in Kenya

The letters from Kenya sound far more hopeful. An Alumniportal user from Nairobi writes: “In Kenya, people believe that the good life comes from a good education. Girls and boys are encouraged to educate themselves to the highest possible level. In recent years, the education of girls of primary school age has been massively promoted. That is successful. "

This statement is confirmed by figures from the national statistical office. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of children attending primary school increased by 350,000. "According to official figures, 87.5 percent of girls attended school in 2014 compared with 89.3 percent of boys," writes Mary Mutembei from Kenya's capital Nairobi. “However, other studies show that there are significantly more boys than girls in school.” In the university sector, too, the difference between the number of female and male students is still enormous (259,600 men as opposed to 184,200 women in 2014 ).

Education for girls is important for the whole country

"Well-educated women have fewer children and raise 'good quality' families. In addition, they are more likely to marry someone who does not come from their surroundings. This breaks the cycle of poverty in uneducated areas, ”says Mary Mutembei.

“And that's exactly what we still have in Cameroon,” says Berthe Ada Biwole. “My friend, who got pregnant when she was 14, needed support from her parents. So there was no money for her siblings. In such a case, the parents concentrate on supporting the children who have not yet had children themselves. Often to the promotion of the sons, the girls. This is a huge loss for the individual, but also for society as a whole. "

Biwole's girlfriend had no chance of a good education. After all, she had to work as a market woman, and she has not left the poor, rural area to this day. "Especially in the poor, uneducated classes, women have no way of defending themselves against such a thing," says Biwole. “Not much has changed in the last few decades. That is why I very much hope that equality between men and women will finally become a reality in Cameroon. "

Mary Mutembei: I see tremendous progress

Access to education for women in Kenya has improved significantly. Mary Mutembei sees "enormous progress" here. However, there is still no real equality of opportunity, especially between women from poor and rich families.

The East African state of Kenya has done a lot in recent years to improve access to education for women and girls. Almost as many girls as boys now attend primary school. Mary Mutembei speaks in the interview about the progress that she has observed in her country, as well as about obstacles that still stand in the way of equal opportunities.

To the interview

June 2016

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