POSTED BY 60milliongirls | Apr, 22, 2021 |

Want to save the planet? Invest in girls’ education!

60 million girls has followed the research for years. We know that girls’ education is the most important and transformative social investment a country can make. Moreover, study after study has shown that girls’ education is a powerful catalyst for reducing the impact of climate change.

Girls are number one!

A 2020 report from Project Drawdown found that ensuring all women have access to education, including sexual and reproductive health information, would do about as much to slow climate change as restoring more than 230 million hectares of tropical forest, an area almost a third of the size of Canada. It is, in fact, listed as the number one action that has the greatest impact on climate change.

Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg in Oxford, UK / Photo: Twitter

“Malala may not think about her work as being about climate, but achieving equity in education is about seeing girls – and then women – able to shape their own lives and communities, as well as the world we live in,” said Katharine Wilkinson, a vice president of Project Drawdown, a climate change think tank.

“The climate crisis is not just – or even primarily – a technology crisis,” Wilkinson added. “We ought to be looking at solutions that are human, not just engineered.”

As basic as ABC…

For every additional year of schooling that a girl receives, maternal and infant mortality decrease. If a girl can attend high school, each additional year will see her potential earnings increase by 15-25%.

An educated woman will have fewer children and will be better able to care for them. She will ensure her children are well-nourished, vaccinated and healthy because she will have the knowledge and the financial resources to do so. Importantly, women invest up to 90% of their revenues on their families, compared to 30% on average for men.

School girls in Uganda / Photo: Martine Michaud

An educated woman will also ensure all her children, both girls and boys, attend school, thereby further reducing the cycle of poverty that is so pervasive in developing countries and, especially, for vulnerable and marginalized women around the world.

Education decreases the likelihood of child pregnancy and forced marriage. Educated girls are less likely to contract HIV.

Communities are more stable — and can recover faster after conflict — when girls are educated. When a country offers secondary education to all its children, it cuts its risk of war in half. Education is vital for security around the world because extremism grows alongside inequality.

So how does girls’ education impact climate change?

Students using technology in Guatemala

Educated women have fewer children, thereby decreasing the human footprint on the planet. However, that is only part of the impact. Education provides girls with the tools and knowledge to make the best decisions for themselves, and helps them better understand the dangers of global warming and better prepare for disasters.

Most often responsible for securing water, food, and fuel for their families and communities, women are hit harder when events like increasing drought and unpredictable weather patterns threaten essential natural resources. Women facing the greatest impacts of climate change already have important knowledge to bring to the table, and they are clear about what needs to be done to address the climate crisis.

Education is key to helping girls to enter science fields. Experts believe that closing the gender gap in science and technology education will lead to more innovation by women, including new tools to fight climate change. However, the need is urgent. At the current rate of progress, it could be more than 75 years until women are filing patents as often as men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Graduation Day for the students of Oleleshwa Girls Secondary School, Kenya

Education opens the doors to politics, especially where female students are groomed for leadership. That’s good news for the climate, as countries with more women in government are more inclined to ratify environmental treaties.

“Giving girls 12 years of quality education is key to addressing a whole host of global challenges, including climate change,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK’s secretary of state for international development. “Good secondary science education brings a better understanding of climate change and a greater urgency to tackle it. Today’s girls are tomorrow’s leading scientists, campaigners and politicians.”

We need the talents, skills and creativity of every person on the planet. Women are half of the world’s population. Their full participation at all levels of society will help us all solve the greatest challenges we face.

Today, let’s celebrate Earth Day with an investment in some of the most innovative and
transformative girls’ education projects around the world.


TAGS : Climate change Earth Day Girls' education Project Drawdown