While providing equal education to girls is necessary from a moral standpoint, it is also essential for a more peaceful and poverty-free world.

Education affects the age at which women marry and have children. Therefore, until girls have equal access to quality education, maternal mortality, overpopulation, and other factors contributing to poverty will continue to terrorize our world.

In sub-Saharan Africa, and South and West Asia, child marriage affects 1 in 8 girls. By the age of 17, 1 in 7 females will have their first child. Since girls in these areas are not given access to education or job opportunities, they are often locked into these marriages, and forced to become mothers far before they are ready.

In the long run, these women can’t afford to take care of their children or even attain proper health services during labor. The line of poverty continues as children are born into impoverished families that are unable to help their offspring escape this cycle.

Providing women with a secondary education brings enormous benefits to both women and to the world. Educated women are empowered women. They can make their own choices and follow their own dreams. If girls receive a secondary education, 64 percent of them won’t get married while still attending school. By giving girls a chance to pursue their own future and making them aware of the risks associated with consecutive childbearing, the vicious cycle will finally reach its end.

The advantages in investing in female education are endless – for individuals, for the fight against poverty, and for lowering child mortality rates. The rise in female education between 1970 and 2009 prevented more than 4 million child deaths. With the Millennium Development Goals still met, perhaps this is an essential place for the U.N. to make a change.

– Sonia Aviv

Sources: Global Post, TIME, Huffington Post
Photo: The Guardian

On May 7, 2013, Sotheby’s will auction a painting from Madonna’s art collection, in its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. The sale of the Fernand Léger’s “Trois femmes à la table rouge – Three Women” painting is estimated at $5 to $7 million, and all proceeds will benefit the Ray of Light Foundation to support girls’ education in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.

“I have a great passion for art and a great passion for education. In conjunction with Sotheby’s, I would like to share these two passions. I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools. Let’s change the world!” commented Madonna.

In Afghanistan, just 12 percent of women are literate and it is estimated that only seven girls to every ten boys are able to attend school. In Pakistan, which has one of the largest populations of out-of-school children in the world, it is estimated that there are more than three million primary school-aged girls unable to attend school.

The Fernand Léger painting was done in 1921, at the height of his Mechanical Elements series. Over time, Léger’s rendering of female subjects became increasingly abstract and this painting on auction is an example of his unique Cubist moment. Madonna is taking this valuable piece of art, and turning it into an even more valuable catalyst for social-good.

– Mary Purcell

Source: Look At The Stars