In many civilizations, women have taken a back seat to men and found themselves trapped in unfair gender roles. While men have the ability to receive educations, become business owners and engage in free trade, women face inequalities in resources, support and access. As many African countries develop and industrialize, it has become more apparent that many women in Africa are stuck in these situations. The countries are investing and growing but opportunities for women are not.
One of the major areas where this is happening is in education. In some African countries, 1 in 7 girls is married before the age of 15, ending her chances of furthering her education. When she is married, she no longer gets the opportunity to go to school. And if that means she is only educated until age 9, she receives no further schooling.
The UN declared October 11th the International Day of the Girl, and the Day of the Girl organization works to “highlight, discuss, celebrate and ultimately advance girls’ lives and opportunities across the globe.” It is one of many organizations working to bring awareness to unequal education opportunities and right the wrongs. They have an annual project for this cause, and the project for 2014 is The Rally Project. They hope to hold rallies in 11 cities (on October 11) to create a new generation of activists. The goal is for the rallies to be led by young leaders in the communities. They hope these rallies will raise awareness for education, Title IX, sex trafficking and other women’s issues around the world.
Another organization working to end education inequalities for women in Africa is the African Women Education & Development Partnership Forum. AWEDP-F was founded by Veronica Kette in 2006 as an organization dedicated to “empowering women through knowledge and partnerships.” Part of their education strategy focuses on raising awareness of the value of women’s education. Kette notes that in many areas of Africa, “families would rather have male than female children because the old belief holds that only male can inherit property and provide for their polygamous homes.” However, in countries such as Cameroon, the educated females are the ones keeping families from poverty.
The world needs organizations such as these to help create a more sustainable gender equality. By raising awareness and fighting inequalities, NGO’s and local organizations are helping women gain fundamental rights. Governments need to step in with policies that create punishments for families keeping their daughters from these opportunities. It is time to stand up for the rights of females who cannot speak up for themselves.