There is little denying the fact that investing in human capital is one of the most effective means of reducing poverty and encouraging sustainable development. Yet, women in developing countries usually receive less education than men. More so, women in general enjoy far less employment opportunities than men the world over. This essay focuses on There is little denying the fact that investing in human capital is one of the most effective means of reducing poverty and encouraging sustainable development. Yet, women in developing countries usually receive less education than men. More so, women in general enjoy far less employment opportunities than men the world over. This essay focuses on the advantages of educating girls and women. It also points out some factors that have lead to girls and women generally lag behind in educational attainment especially in Zambia.
Educating girls and women is one of the best investments a society can make. This is because an educated woman acquires the skills, the self-confidence and the information she needs to become a better parent, worker and citizen. Specifically, female education has powerful effects on the total fertility rate (and hence on population growth), the infant mortality rate, the female disadvantage in child survival, and on child health and nutrition. By contrast, statistical analysis shows that male schooling has relatively much smaller effects on these important social outcomes.
In becoming a better parent, women improved their maternal health (a concept that encompasses preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care). The goals of preconception care can include providing health promotion, screening and intervention for women of reproductive age to reduce risk factors that might affect future pregnancies and lower incidences of HIV/AIDS are but some of the positive outcomes when a girl is educated.
Indeed education of women improves child health because of educated mothers' greater knowledge of the importance of hygiene and of simple remedies. All this lowers infant mortality, which in turn means that a family does not need to have a large number of children in order to hedge against the possibility of premature death of some children. Furthermore, it appears that education of females increases the age at marriage (or at cohabitation) and through this delay, lowers the total fertility rate, i.e. number of children ever born to a woman. Camfed an NGO promoting girl education has observed and fostered on the ground: girls who complete primary and secondary education tend to marry later, have smaller families and earn significantly higher wages. Girls' education has been posited as a "vaccine" against HIV/AIDS, with comparative analysis of data from Zambia, for example, of non-educated and educated women showing a substantial difference in infection rates. A large body of microeconomic evidence shows that, increase in women's education generally lead to increase in their labour force participation as well as in their earnings. Educated women's greater participation in labour market work and their higher earnings are thought to be good for their own status (economic models say "bargaining power") within the household, and are good for their children because it appears that a greater proportion of women's income than men's is spent on child goods. Limited evidence suggests that children whose mothers work have just as good or better educational outcomes than children whose mothers do not work. Education may also change women's preferences about the quantity versus the quality of children, with educated women choosing fewer children but of better "quality" is a great value and hence a great benefit to nation. This could drastically reduce the number of street children which come as a result of unplanned families. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, recent research suggests that a greater proportion of women's cash income than men's is spent on child goods, so that...
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