Why support girls secondary education in Rwanda?
Rwanda’s political and entrepreneurial environment has become one that is capable of absorbing educated girls, and educating girls has proven to be an effective way to improve economic and health outcomes in developing countries like Rwanda.
Women in Rwanda comprise approximately 65% of the population and have been credited with rebuilding the country post-genocide. According to the World Bank, Rwandan women run 41% of Rwandan businesses! Recognizing the economic and social value of its female population, the country has taken significant steps to institutionalize the empowerment of women and girls. The current Rwandan parliament boasts a female majority of 56% – the first in the world to hold that distinction, and approximately a third of cabinet positions are held by women.
Educating girls has been proven to support economic development and health outcomes for women and their families. “So even as a doctor, for example, one of the best ways that you can promote the health of your patients in general, and the health of the populations, is to invest in girls’ education.” – Paul Farmer
- Each additional year of secondary school will boost a girl’s future earnings by as much as 15 to 25 percent.
- When women and girls earn income, they will reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, whereas men will invest 30 to 40 percent of their earnings in their families.
- Research has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
- Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.