American economist, Lawrence Summers, who worked as the Chief Economist of the World Bank, stated “When you educate a boy, you educate one individual, but when you educate a girl, you educate a nation”.
To counter individual, family, and society’s social conditions and improve them for women, a collective effort that works on multi-level interventions must challenge years of internalized powerlessness and cycles of inequality. Empowerment must be realized on multiple levels, requiring all aspects of society to take part in this process to create change for the underserved majority population. The process of empowerment is often viewed as occurring on cognitive, psychological, economic, and political spectrums. Women first must acquire the knowledge and self-awareness of understanding their existing condition, being in subordinate status in society, and then conquer the psychological component, which requires their belief in their ability to change the structured gender inequalities. The economic aspect of this change is to enable the women to become more active and have financial autonomy. Politically, women need to embrace the ability to organize and lead the change in their societies.
While education is an established human right, there are large inequalities in the number of female literacy rates when compared to male literacy rates in the same communities. More girls drop out of schools than boys while growing up in these environments. These statistics have a basis in gender bias, cultural beliefs, and political agenda. Education can act as a vital medium in empowering women by teaching them the tools necessary to lead a change. Women who have access to better education in their lives have lower rates of being vulnerable to gender-based violence, abuse, mistreatment, trafficking, and disease. Education thus enables them to be active participants in bringing social development and economic growth to their communities.
At SAGE PWG Foundation, we want to make a difference in the lives of generations to come through the power of providing education to women and children. We look forward to collaborating with organizations that serve as a catalyst for change in this area.