This week university students in Vancouver will be returning to their studies. The importance of education and scholarship for individuals, and for society as a whole, cannot be overemphasized. Regrettably, we will not be seeing the return of our city’s children to the classroom this week. This has brought many parents and teachers much frustration throughout the past several weeks.
Readers are well-accustomed to the value of education. Education serves as a foundation for human capacity building at the individual level; shaping personalities and interests, building confidence and providing knowledge and skills. Education is critical to success at the state-level too, by providing intelligent and trained workers to both the public and private sectors, ultimately contributing to improved levels of human development.
Of the over 100 million children not in school, more than half are girls. Equal access for girls has been a priority on the UN agenda since the 2000 Millennium Development Goals. October 11th is International Day of the Girl Child. One of the greatest ways to celebrate and encourage the girl child is to provide her with quality education. Education empowers girls and gives them a voice, “Education is the pathway to gender equality.” Importantly, education provides women with social mobility and an opportunity to escape poverty.
Critical to this realization and the current global focus on gender equality and the Girl Child, is the feminist perspective. The notion that women have been marginalized throughout history, and continue to face inequality is often only first discussed in depth at the university level. Post-secondary education (which interestingly can have a greater percentage of female scholars) however, is not always a reality for all.
Next week the UNA Vancouver will be hosting “Inequality and Rights: A Feminist Perspective” at Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre, a conference led by female scholars and professionals in the Vancouver region.
As we approach the Post- 2015 Development period, we must not only continue to work towards equal access to education globally, but also continue to strive for an innovative and strategic educational framework for the children here in Vancouver.
This means developing goal-orientated students who know that setting goals works not only at the micro, individual level, but also in a large-scale, international context. It means teaching feminist perspectives at an early age, and setting a new educational standard for the children of our future.
For an in-depth understanding of gender equality in education globally, from the primary to upper levels, please see: World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education (UNESCO Publishing, 2012) http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Documents/unesco-world-atlas-gender-education-2012.pdf
Post written by UNAC-Vancouver website writer: Brittney Potvin.