The Daily Iowan

Newby: Keep the conversation going on global girls’ education

It’s important that The Day of the Girl carries its significance beyond a single day; and that, rather than existing within those 24 hours, it could create a conversation that brings with it lasting hope — and lasting change.

Taylor Newby, Opinion Columnist

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Last week, the International Day of the Girl swept by with enthusiastic discussions regarding the importance of all girls everywhere receiving the education they all deserve — and with that, a hunger for knowledge continues to burn across countless communities.

It’s important that the Day of the Girl carries its significance beyond a single day, and, rather than existing within those 24 hours, it could create a conversation that brings with it lasting hope — and lasting change.

According to UNESCO, two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are women, and there are 31 million girls unable to enter primary school. Of this number, 17 million girls are never expected to enter into an education system.

RELATED: Newby: Investing in early childhood is imperative

I think it’s easy to underestimate the way education shapes the world and changes lives when it’s so accessible to us in the United States — and even in Iowa City alone — when registering for classes feels more like a chore than a choice, and writing papers and penciling in exam bubbles feels more like a pain than a privilege.

But it’s more than a good thing to pause and consider the conversation that the Day of the Girl has created. In our community, in which most of us are students spending several hours a week sitting through lectures and discussion, it’s important to remember the purpose behind our education. More than that, it’s important we do something valuable with the education we have access to.

And when numbers are splayed out as representatives for the names and faces of adolescent girls gripping water jugs with calloused hands in blistering heat, that there is a large population of the world prohibited from the promise and abundant opportunity that education offers becomes easier to see at face value. This travesty exists, and though we’ve taken a day to consider it in this last week, we are responsible for keeping the conversation going.

Still, though a single day is never enough to sift through the many layers of this problematic brokenness across our globe, there is something immeasurably good in taking the time to listen and participate in the conversation of our world’s number of uneducated girls. Because where this conversation occurs, a movement is being created.

“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights,” said the Day of the Girl website from U.N. Resolution 66//170.

The point of the Day of the Girl is less about tossing around threatening statistics and more about taking action — invoking change. When girls are educated, women are less likely to die in childbirth, babies are born healthier, poverty rates go down, the economy grows stronger. When girls are educated, the world gets better.

“We’re looking for everyone’s help — everyone can be an ally,” said former first lady Michelle Obama last week on the Day of the Girl. “The future of our world is only as bright as the future of our girls.”

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About the Writer
Taylor Newby, Opinion Columnist

Email: [email protected]
Taylor Newby is an opinion columnist at The Daily Iowan. She is a sophomore at the UI studying journalism with a certificate...

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