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In Australia we are lucky. Education is seen as a necessity and under the Education Act of each state, boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 are required to attend school. This act is in place because as a country we are well aware of the benefits of education, not just to the individual and their quality of life but to the greater community.

Despite this, there are still many countries where receiving a formal education is not considered a necessity, especially for young girls. According to the United Nations two thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women (United Nations Statistics Division, 2013). This is catastrophic when you take a moment to reflect on what female education can do for the economy. According to leading Goldman Sachs analyst Kathy Matsui, educated women contribute to the quality, size and productivity of the workforce. They can attain better paying jobs, which allows them to provide daily necessities, health care and education to support their family (2013).

In addition to this, recent studies have shown that educated women are better at managing their own and their family’s health issues. For example, educated women are 40% more likely to immunise their own children and this alone helps to drastically reduce infant rates and improve overall demographic structures (Safeena Husain, 2013).

There is also a direct link between education and increasing the number of women in leadership roles within the workforce, as education is an essential pre-requisite to reaching and retaining key leadership and decision-making roles.

A key advocate for female education Safeena Husain, argues that putting more young girls in schools is the most effective way to reduce the gender gap globally. She discusses this in great detail at the Skoll World Forum, a forum designed to connect and facilitate discussion between social entrepreneurs who help solve the world’s most pressing problems (such as education, sustainability etc). Safeena Husain was a guest speaker and awardee this year for her work as founder of ‘Educate Girls’; an organisation striving to increase community appreciation and better facilitate girls’ education within Indian villages and districts. She emphasise the impact enrolling a single girl in school can have for the whole community and sheds a new perspective on the important role education plays in bridging the gender gap, particularly in the workforce.

Watch her discuss this in greater detail in the video below: