By: Jasmine Ericson, The Dawn
Around the world, millions of children are deprived of an education due to external factors they have no control over. Poverty, military conflict, illness and other factors can prevent children from furthering their education into their adolescence, which creates dangerous implications for the future workforce. Young girls are the most at risk to end their education prematurely. In light of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, it is important to note how violence can effect educational circumstances.
The world has repeatedly experienced the nightmare of girls’ education being tainted by violence. In 2012, 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head because of her activism against the Taliban and advocacy for girls’ education. In 2014, the extremist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a school in Chibok. Daily, girls around the globe face traumatizing forms of violence that can limit their ability to focus on or even attend school.
School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) has become a global fight. The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) defines SRGBV as “acts or threats of sexual, physical or psychological violence occurring in and around schools, perpetrated as a result of gender norms and stereotypes and enforced by unequal power dynamics.” Some girls face attacks traveling to and from school, sexual advances from teachers, bullying and harassment from male peers. Those who are forcibly married to militant group members and escape face great barriers to re-enter society, let alone get an education. Many countries have denounced this sort of gender-inequality, but few have done anything to produce actual results.
Thousands of summits, conferences and action plans have been made to combat this issue. Although statistics have shown improvement for both boys and girls receiving pre-primary, primary and secondary education, the situation is still far from fulfilling the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 4: Quality Education by 2030. With poverty being the main obstacle for all children, it will take substantial action to provide disadvantaged girls with a promising future.