The Equal Right to Read belongs to both Women and Men

Being able to read is a human right. It is central to human dignity and social justice. Being able to read is the gateway to education. Being able to read empowers not only individuals, but also families, communities and nations. Being able to read should be the right of men and of women. This is because men are human and women are human, and being able to read is a human right. However, over two thirds of adults who cannot read are women.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 26% of girls are not in primary school: this is the highest rate in the world. Why are so many girls and women not able to read, when it allows for so many benefits? Some might argue that the time, effort and sometimes money needed to learn how to read do not outweigh the benefits, especially in the case of women. However, research disagrees with this position.

Equality for women is continuously linked with progress for all. Women who can read are more likely to access, participate in and benefit from education. This allows them to gain information, knowledge, attitudes, skills and values which help to increase their capabilities and therefore their quality of life, and the quality of life of those around them. Women who read have more options for supporting themselves and their families. For example, they can be more involved in business deals. They can manage finances both within and outside of the household. The ability to read is connected to earning more money and economic self-reliance. This can help break the poverty cycle of individuals and families, and will increase the economic growth of countries.
Women who can read can have a hugely positive effect on their children. This is first for their children’s basic development and education. Parents are often their children’s first teachers, and so educated women will likely improve the education of their own children. Children with educated mothers are also more likely to go to school, and therefore have more opportunities in life.This positive effect is secondly in terms of their children’ health. There are links between increasing female literacy and decreasing infant and child mortality. This is because, for example, women are able to read the backs of medicine bottles, and are able to read information about hygiene and nutrition.
These health benefits also extend to women themselves. Women who can read are more likely to seek medical help for themselves and their families. Research by the United Nations has shown the links between female literacy and the prevention of HIV/ AIDS. Increasing literacy also increases reproductive health and decreases maternal mortality. Further, women who can read help to develop society. Reading increases women’s access to social, political and legal justice, which is their right. It benefits society as a whole: women are more able to participate in public life, and help build inclusive societies which listen to and support everybody. They also help to create a stable society: Kofi Annan, who headed the UN, said it was likely that “no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended” than female empowerment. Reading is an essential building block of this empowerment.
As Ban Ki-moon, the current Secretary General of the United Nations, says, “all evidence shows that investment in literacy for women yields high development dividends.” These gains are for the individual women’s agency, economic and social well-being and human rights, and works to the benefit of their children, families, communities and countries. In conclusion, enabling women to read is the right thing to do and it is the smart thing to do.
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Marwin Ramos

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3 Comments

  1. Shida Masuba 4 years ago October 30, 2016

    It is true and a good idea. All humans have equal rights in different aspects of life. It is time to encourage women involved in education to inspire our knowledge to the young generation (girls). This will expand a spirit for girls to involve themselves in education.

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  2. nura m idris 4 years ago November 1, 2016

    yes its good

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  3. lady ij marie 4 years ago November 20, 2016

    Women education is important. Iam able to help my husband the way am doing today because am educated. I thank God and my parents who toiled to send me to schools. Now am doing same for all my children including other peoples’ children living with me

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