“If you educate a woman, you educate a family; if you educate a girl, you educate the future.”
Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan
Parents, mothers in particular, play a pivotal role as children’s primary caregivers and educators, shaping their educational journey – a journey which starts as early as during pregnancy.
In particular parents are:
The varying degrees of parental involvement create inequalities in education. Not all parents can engage in the same way due to lack of time and other reasons. Ignoring these disparities perpetuates educational inequality among children.
The central role of parents, in particular mothers, in ensuring an inclusive and quality education for their children must therefore be recognised and supported.
Empowering parents/mothers as essential allies in achieving children’s right to education means:
Being effective parents requires skills and knowledge that are generally not taught at school.
Parenting education programs can offer support and education that can address social and behavioural issues and make parenting easier, more effective and more enjoyable, thereby strengthening a child’s ability to feel safe and thrive.
In particular, educating parents on Early Child Development and nurturing Care is key for a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development to their full potential.
Positive parenting and building early emotional skills in young children is also one of many parenting programs that have been known to benefit both the child and parent.
Global statistics for women and girls’ education are concerning:
In addition to being a basic human right, the education of girls is also a smart investment.
Research shows that an educated mother is healthier and has healthier and better educated children. According to the Global partnership for Education, if every girl completed primary school, maternal deaths would decline by two-thirds. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of 5, 50% more likely to be immunized, and twice as likely to go to school.
Educating girls triggers a virtuous circle:
The reality though of girls’ education is that many around the world, are hampered in their educational pursuits for a myriad of possible reasons, including child or early marriage, teenage pregnancy, concerns about safety on the way to school, or the absence of adequate toilet facilities.
Too many girls are also bound by unpaid domestic and care work at home because they are girls. Research shows that girls aged 5-9 spend 30% more time on work around the home than boys of the same age. These mechanisms, put in place from an early age determine the lives of these young girls, jeopardizing their ability to access an education that would otherwise make them autonomous
At MMM, we believe that you cannot talk about educating and empowering young girls without taking into account the considerable weight they carry in domestic work.
It is therefore imperative that we – States, civil society, NGOs – take more direct action and intervene much earlier to prevent young girls’ futures from being decided as early as age 5.
Education does not stop at school and university; it should continue throughout life, also for mothers.
Promoting lifelong learning and the continued education and skills development of mothers is vital not only for their personal growth and emancipation, but also for the wellbeing of their family.
The importance of intergenerational education of mothers and young girls – tomorrow’s mothers – cannot be stressed enough. This virtuous circle can bring about opportunities to effectively tackle negative gender norms and unlock potential to enable them to have more fulfilling lives, to be able to exercise their fundamental human rights and to fully contribute to the economies and societies in which they live.
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