This week one of our girl MKKs (Maisha Kamili Kids - click for Maisha Kamili's website) told us, "I was so discouraged (before Maisha Kamili offered to help me) because my family members who were supposed to be taking care of me told me that they wouldn't waste their money on my education because I'm female." We quickly told her, of course, that we value the education of girls and that, because we know the attitude of her family abounds, we have set a priority on finding girl orphans to help.
Many of our MKKs are single orphans - they still have a living mother. Because of gross inequality, because their own parents thought educating them would be a waste of money, these widows have no way to earn a living to support their own children. Widows get some support from the government, but it is not enough to cover all of their expenses, and education is the first expense they drop. If they do get help from relatives for school fees, it will be for the boys. The cycle will repeat in each generation.
The effects of educating women (click to learn more about the effects) are far-reaching, not only in their own lives, but also the lives of their children, communities, and countries. Educating women is a key component to breaking the cycle of poverty within a family and also a key component to gender equality in the future.
Today is International Women's Day, a day on which the UN reflects on progress made towards equality for women and encourages changes in the future to ensure equality in the future. This year's theme is "Equality for women means progress for all."
from the statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (click to read the full statement):
Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.
The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.