Sustainable Development Goals represent a worldwide commitment to ending poverty, protecting the environment and promoting peace and prosperity. Progress on many of the goals including good health and wellbeing, gender equality and reduced inequalities could be achieved by ending Gender Based Violence (GBV). When women and girls are able to live healthy, safe lives free from violence, they are able to participate in and contribute to their communities extensively.
Gender Based Violence is a manifestation of structural inequality that speaks to the need for stronger, better and smarter development. No society can develop economically, politically or socially when half of its population is marginalized. An educated female population increases a country’s productivity and fuels economic growth. Some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys.
Finding solutions to reduce and respond to Gender Based Violence is not only vital to the lives and well-being of women, girls and societies throughout the world, but to the successful implementation of the newly adopted sustainable development goals. One way we can end GBV and by extension implement the sustainable development goals is through education to the girls. Girls once educated tend to be very competent professionals. Communities are improving gradually through breaking of barriers and eliminating vices that prevent girls from excelling. Through education women are empowered and this does facilitate economic development in their communities.
“We should re-dedicate ourselves to ensuring that every girl is educated, healthy, skilled, and empowered. Investing in their today is investing in our tomorrow” – UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin.
Statistics show, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of out-of-school children, with more than one in five children of primary age. Girls are the first to be excluded, with 24% of all girls in this age group not in school compared to 18% of boys. In Northern Africa and Western Asia, 12% of girls are out of school compared to 10% of boys. Education allows girls to make informed choices which allow them to seek opportunities whereby opportunities give women freedom through which they are empowered today and tomorrow across the globe to live their best lives. Education of women facilitates change not only in their own lives but also the lives of those around her.
By extension, educating women enlightens and empowers them against acts of Gender Based Violence thus creating a just society free from exclusion and discrimination.