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Hardin 1 Bryce Hardin Sandra Dunstan-Hoover AP English Language and Composition May 2, 2014 Education: The Gateway to a Brighter Tomorrow According to a study done by the American Psychology Association girls have overtaken boys in every level of education, earning higher values on report cards consistently for the past century (Voyer). These results can be disputed or be considered biased if someone so chose, but the results do show that girls are at least equally intelligent to boys, arguably smarter. It makes no sense then that so many young girls across the world are denied education, especially on the grounds of just being a woman. Education enables tomorrow to come, by denying education to roughly half of the population; one slows the progress of society in that country, and the world as a whole. In order for the world to reduce the stagnation of society across the globe, universal education equality must be achieved, specifically in the poorest of countries. Vietnam, India, and Kenya are prime examples of countries that stand to gain everything by increasing equality for their population. Following Ho Chi Minh’s historic victory over the United States and the Democratic South Vietnam, the country stood on the precipice of greatness, the North had thrown out the foreign oppressors and united the country under one dynamic leader. The Communist ideals of equality for all in all were soon skewed; however, as girls began to fall behind the men more


Hardin 2 and more. The educational gap became extremely drastic with regards to sex, as many parents only enrolled their sons in school to save money. This sexist practice fell in line with traditional South East Asian culture, in which the boys care for their parents when they get old, thus making the son’s education more valuable to the family. Some even called their daughters “flying ducks” since, in the eyes of the parents, the daughter lost all value to the family after her marriage. This blatant preference of males must end; so that Vietnam’s best students can stay in school, if the option for all children is not available (Education for All). This is the most viable solution to end the cyclical chain of poverty that plagues Vietnam to this day. Math and science offer Vietnam a great future, like that of Japan, but the question remains: will the country break its traditional chains, and grasp the opportunity? Another poor Asian country that puts startling inequality of the sexes on display is India. India has been unable to keep up with its remarkable economic and population expansion in the past century or so. The Government is unable and unwilling to enforce laws related to gender based discrimination and abuse. This inability can be witnessed in the brothels, where women are forced to take up to thirty clients a day and are routinely beaten, even killed on occasion. Even the women who have been the victims of this abuse can see that the light at the end of the tunnel emits from the radiant lamp of education. These poor mothers cannot shake the sex industry in their own lives, but they realize how to ensure that it does not consume the lives of their daughters. The solution that they have found is to enroll their daughters in schooling from a young age. This access to education brings hope to the lives of both the mothers and the daughters, hope that the cycle will be broken and the youth will not be stuck living in the hell that the mothers call home. Nicholas Kristoff takes us through this cycle, giving us a real


Hardin 3 example of a mother trapped in the sex industry who, at great personal expense, puts her children through school. He provides this woman’s story to add credibility to his stance that education is the way forward for poor girls in the bottom caste of society (Breaking the Chains of Modern Slavery). At the same time, it adds an element of undeniable evidence, taking a theoretical solution and showing it at work in reality. This allows a viewer to more logically follow his plan. Allowing academic success for one’s children should never require a woman to sell her body; if India would take steps to increase the amount of young girls in school it could usher in a new era of scientific and economic prosperity. Over in the neighboring continent, Africa, many women face similar challenges. Not many women have it worse off than those in Kenya. Following years of civil war and internal conflict, the economy of the country was in shambles. The average, uneducated peasant fell into crippling poverty. The women in the country unfortunately fell victim to this lifestyle even more than the men. Men were able to find work, low paying, but work nonetheless. The men were far less likely to spend their income on the family than the women, though. This caused a severe gap in wealth between the sexes. A similar tale ensued in this country, as the women went through much personal hardship to send their children through school. In order to pay a school’s tuition fees, women had to start their own small businesses and work long, difficult hours to make the money required to educate their children and set them up with a brighter future (Women’s Economic Empowerment). What happens when a woman’s business does not succeed, however? Her children, or just her daughters, are unable to afford schooling and lose their hope for a brighter future. This uneducated future populace stagnates and does not push their country forward in terms of economic power and educational rankings in the world. The unfortunate


Hardin 4 pattern of economic disparity disrupting the education young children must end, especially since this disability falls upon the fairer sex more heavily than the other. The world must realize that it will not succeed or reach its full potential unless it educates the full populace, not just half. Kenyan girls are unfortunate, but they are not alone in their misery. Girls all over the world are disadvantaged and cut off from their opportunity at a successful future before the boys, or are never even presented with the chance at all. The global community must take notice and then action to stop this worldwide trend towards failure. It will take a massive amount of effort, but if humanity puts its mind and resources towards such a noble goal, global education equality will become a reality and galvanize the societies of the world, launching Earth into an unprecedented era of success and technological achievement. To quote Horace Mann, the father of US public education, “let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.� Works Cited

Breaking the Chains of Modern Slavery. Dir. Maro Chermayeff. Perf. Nicholas Kristoff. PBS, 2012. Web. 2 May 2014. <http://www.itvs.org/educators/collections/half-the-sky/lesson_plans/modernslavery>. Education for All. Dir. Maro Chermayeff. Perf. Nicholas Kristoff. PBS, 2012. Web. 2 May 2014. <http://www.itvs.org/educators/collections/half-the-sky/lesson_plans/education-for-all>. Voyer, Daniel. "Girls Make Higher Grades than Boys in All School Subjects, Analysis Finds." Http://www.apa.org. American Psychological Association, 29 Apr. 2014. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/04/girls-grades.aspx>.


Hardin 5 Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Economic Empowerment. Dir. Maro Chermayeff. Perf. Nicholas Kristoff. PBS, 2012. Web. 2 May 2014. <http://www.itvs.org/educators/collections/half-the-sky/lesson_plans/womenseconomic-empowerment>.


Education: The Gateway to a Brighter Tomorrow