Thursday, July 31, 2014

IWHHR: Week 2 (Education)

During the summer of 2014, I am taking an online course in Global Health from Stanford University taught by Anne Firth Murray entitled, "International Women's Health and Human Rights" (IWHHR). I will be posting my reflective writing assignments from each week's course of study. All writings can be found under the tag IWHHRDetails on the course can be found here.
If you are interested in taking this or another course, you can find a listing of the online courses offered by Stanford here. From economics to cryptography, courses are added each semester.
Photo from our course material. Credit: S. Smith Patrick


Please read through the list of United Nations Millennium Goals (available here), and then draft three to five thoughtful paragraphs about the following topic:
Which goals relate directly to girls’ education? Which goals are dependent on educating girls for their fulfillment?
You can find out more details about the Millennium Goals and get current information on the status of achieving them at

The Millennium Development Goals
Goal 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
• Reduce by half the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day
• Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Goal 2 Achieve universal primary education
• Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling
Goal 3 Promote gender equality and empower women
• Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015
Goal 4 Reduce child mortality
• Reduce by two thirds the mortality of children under five
Goal 5 Improve maternal health
• Reduce maternal mortality by three quarters
Goal 6 Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases
• Halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS
• Halt and reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Goal 7 Ensure environmental sustainability
• Integrate principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse the loss of environmental resources
• Halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
• Improve the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020
Goal 8 Develop a global partnership for development
• Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system
• Address special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states

Interestingly, ALL eight of the United Nations Millennium Goals directly relate to girls' education. Had you asked me this questions prior to all of the readings and videos this week, I'm not sure I would have been able to answer the same way. I now know that sending a girl to school and educating her actually fulfills each of these goals on an individual level for that girl. Obviously, the goals are intended to be set forth on a global perspective, but it certainly starts with just one girl.

Every aspect of a girl's life (life itself, potential for poverty and hunger, maternal health, potential for contracting diseases such as HIV, malaria, etc.,) and really the community as a whole is affected by whether or not she (and other girls) are sent to school and properly educated so they can act for themselves and begin to give back to their families and communities. Once you've educated a girl and once she also begins to earn money, the majority of that money and teaching go back into her raising her children and bettering the community as a whole. This positively affects the next generation of girls AND boys. Education is really thought of as the "magic" key or the silver bullet to propelling communities forward to be more pleasant, prosperous, and cohesive.

Since all eight of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals are directly related to girls' education, it seems that all of them require educating girls for their fulfillment. I would especially point out Goal 2 - Achieve universal primary education as requiring that girls be educated in order to be fulfilled. While educating girls makes an enormous impact, it seems that the remaining goals also include other factors that are required for their fulfillment. But Goal 2 cannot be achieved AT ALL unless girls are sent to school.

Educating girls not only helps to fulfill these development goals and benefits communities, the environment, and so forth. It is a basic human right and it's the right thing to do.

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