Why education of girls is so important

Her Majesty Queen Rania joined 12 year old South African schoolgirl Nthabiseng Tshabalala in New York to hand in an eighteen-million strong 1GOAL petition to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. New York, USA/ September 22, 2010 (Photo courtesy Queen Rania official website).

By highlighting the importance of educating girls, journalist and executive producer of The Documentary Group, Tom Yellin and his team have set out to help end global poverty. One of their most important partners on this journey is Queen Rania of Jordan, whose official website opens with these words:

“Education = Opportunity. The opportunity to escape poverty. The opportunity to hope. Education is a lifeline.”

In his project 10×10, Yellin illustrates the next wave of journalism and advocacy that breaks down the walls of exclusivity through active partnerships, sharing and great storytelling. (Watching this video is required homework in the “School Supplies for Afghan Children” course at University of South Florida‘s Honors College)

THE SOCIAL ACTION CAMPAIGN The 10×10 social action campaign is a global call to action intended to transform the film’s audience from interested viewers into passionate advocates. The 10×10 campaign will partner with NGOs and corporations that share our commitment to the global empowerment of girls. It will channel resources to existing programs that are already on the ground and have already proven to be effective. And 10×10 will take advantage of the vast grassroots network of interested individuals and organizations who believe that lives, communities and countries can be transformed. Ultimately, the goal of 10×10 is to change policy so that the widespread education of girls becomes not merely an ideal, but a worldwide reality.

WHY FOCUS ON EDUCATING GIRLS? Because the payoff is dramatic: educated girls marry later and have fewer and healthier children; educated girls become mothers who are 50% more likely to immunize their children; educated girls are much less likely to contract HIV/AIDS; and educated girls, when they become mothers, are much more likely to send their own children – sons and daughters – to school. Devoting resources to girls is the smartest investment a developing country can make. Yet, less than two cents of every development dollar is directed to girls.

More about Yellin’s project here.


About Liisa Hyvarinen Temple

Multimedia journalist & multimedia production instructor at USF since 2002. Former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow (1999). Winner of Walter Cronkite political reporting award. Proud military wife.
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