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Natural Awakenings

Huzzah: Why Educating Girls Pays

Oprah Winfrey’s new $40 million Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa spotlights a crisis winning attention from a growing corps of non-governmental organizations and private philanthropists.

World Bank notes that when a country educates its girls, its overall per capita income increases and its fertility rate drops. Studies also link female education to higher crop yields, lower HIV infection rates and reduced infant mortality.

“With education, the girl child will grow up and be a better mother. She will be better able to understand the importance of her own children being educated, and will be better able to provide for her children,” says Sarah Crow of UNICEF in Johannesburg.

Africa’s education crisis embraces both boys and girls, notes Gene Sperling, director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But,” he says, “the benefits of girls’ education, in terms of improving health, women’s empowerment, and family well-being, probably does make girls’ education the highest-returning social investment in the world.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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