Obviously those who want to keep women marginalised fear education. They shot Malala Yousafzai, a young girl who is an advocate for girls education in an area where women live with marginalisation. The Taliban was clear that it shot her for advocating female education. When more than 150 girls fell ill from drinking poisoned water in Afghanistan, they blamed those opposed to women’s education. One of Pakistan’s senior educationists, a woman, Dr Bernadette Dean, decided to leave the country after receiving death threats.
What do they fear? What is the power unleashed by education that these elements fear?
A young Afghani girl said ‘literacy and education is as light, it also gives you power’. Studies on the benefits of education for girls have shown that this is the single most effective strategy to ensure the well-being of the next generation, and for the long-term sustainable development of communities and economies. Educating Girls Matters says there are profound benefits for women that include:
- Reduction of child and maternal mortality
- Improvement of child nutrition and health
- Lower birth rates
- Enhancement of women’s domestic role and their political participation
Is this what they fear? I think their fear is more deep-rooted. Social change will certainly challenge their position, their power, their control over women and the community. But the roots are deeper. Freedom. Education opens the door to choice, enhancing identity and empowering to dream and seek to fulfill those dreams. It brings girls and women together, creates community, breaks isolation.
Quality education and equal opportunity to access it has the potential to bring radical change. However else we tackle women’s marginalization, the fear of education speaks to its power to transform.
 Agenda.weforum.org, How educating girls can transform communities, Accessed 21.05.2015