By Sarah Wade
The past year has been a big one for girls’ education: from the tragic shooting and inspiring recovery of Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai to the release of Girl Rising by famed documentary filmmaker Richard Robbins, stories of young women struggling to go to school in developing countries have reached new audiences and lent fresh energy to the movement for gender equity in education.
Alongside those stories is a growing body of research showing the positive effects that girls’ education has not just for them, but also for their families, communities and countries. While we don’t yet live in a world where every girl has the opportunity to go to school, we do have a crowd of numbers telling us why we should.
Here are five numerical arguments for girls’ education we think you should know:
1. Educated women boost income growth. Through a study of 100 different countries, the World Bank found that for every 1% increase in the proportion of women with secondary education, a country’s annual per capita income growth rate increased by about 0.3%. In many developing countries that’s a significant boost.
2. With the same amount of secondary education as boys, girls earn more. The average girl with a secondary education has an 18% return in future wages, while boys have a 14% return.
3. Infant mortality rates fall when girls’ education level climbs. Children of women with a primary education are 40% more likely to survive past age 5. Each additional year of schooling for a girl lowers infant mortality by 5-10%.
4. Girls are better able to plan their future families. Girls in developing countries who receive seven years of schooling have more choices in life: marrying an average of four years later and having 2.2 fewer children.
5. Educated mothers raise educated children. Educated mothers are twice as likely to send their children to primary school as their uneducated counterparts.
Help make an education a reality for all girls: $13 pays for a girl in a developing country to go to school for a year. Donate today through Girl Up.