More Than Just a Diploma and a Job: Education for Girls
It is well known that an education guarantees a girl’s future- it protects her from the ups and downs of life. It’s especially important given that women aren’t just wives, mothers, and sisters anymore- we are independent leaders, and breadwinners. Where there are low rates of educated girls, women tend to accept their circumstances, and give others control over their futures.
Yet women's education isn't just about receiving a certificate for completing a certain amount of schooling- it's also about girls gaining an understanding of all they are capable of accomplishing in their future. The benefits of education aren't just for the girl who sits behind the school desk, either- education helps whole families, as educated women lead educated communities. This is a fact backed up by years of research- for example, the World Bank 2012 World Development report found that improvements in a woman’s education and agency are directly linked to her country’s economic growth.
Education deeply impacted my life, because it gave me the chance to live apart from my family in student housing, so I experienced the independence that many Palestinian girls miss. I felt stronger- my university certificate felt like “life insurance” to me.
That's one of the main reasons I am a teacher in TYO's Core Program- I hope to instill a love for learning in my students, and encourage young girls to aim high in their educations. I notice many girls who are behind in reading or writing, and lack the confidence that comes from knowledge. It is very important to me that girls know how to read the letters of the alphabet like everyone else in their class, and know that they are just as smart as the boys.
I think there’s three types of Palestinian women: those that are not educated who don’t feel any independence, educated women who don’t work, and educated women who contribute financially to their own lives and act as active members of their communities. While many women in our community might fall into the first two categories, I believe the upcoming generations- especially my students at TYO- can change this. We know that it's not enough for women to just go to school- they need their education to change the way they look at themselves and their role in society.
Ruba Hafayda is a Core Child Program Teacher at TYO. Above, she shares about her own experience with education, and the impact of girls' education on entire communities.