THE BLOG

The Power of Female Education

29/04/2014 12:12 BST | Updated 29/06/2014 10:59 BST

In light of the recent abduction of 230 school girls in Chibok, Nigeria (which has been seldom reported within the international press), it has highlighted the importance of female education. The schoolgirls were abducted shortly before taking their examinations, reportedly by an influential Islamist group within the area: a motive for their abduction is clear.

Without education, any human being regardless of sex is relegated to insignificance: access to employment is limited without numeracy and literacy skills, and an understanding of the events occurring around them is restricted heavily. This is exactly the sort of environment that extreme Islamists are attempting to create for women within their strongholds. They rely heavily on passivity, and by relegating an entire sex to insignificance their power can only flourish and foster.

Stories of girls being sprayed with acid within their classrooms as they are taught are not uncommon, in addition to teachers being shot in the classroom. The story of Malala Yousafzai's brutal shooting in Pakistan further exemplifies this concerted effort to restrict the educational rights of women. The even more disturbing reports of the 'trojan horse' dilemma in Birmingham, in which girls are supposedly being made to sit at the back of classrooms and are being withheld reproductive education, shows a spread of extremist values that are specifically targeting the education of women.

However, this obsession with restricting the education and rights of women exemplifies the power that woman holds within the world. Equipped with an education and a grip upon the world, young girls become equal to their male counterparts, exercising their rights, freedoms and opinions. This eventuality is what Islamist extremists are so frightened of, and so keen to halt, as without passive acceptance how can they wish to flourish? No woman with a decent education and a will of her own is going to accept a life of subjugation as a maid, as the girls from Chibok are reportedly fated to, and no woman with such an education is going to let her daughters be restricted also. This incessant flow of education proves dangerous for extremists, and their counter actions, whilst they seek to reap terror, also show to the world this inherent weakness that lies within their distorted beliefs.

The events occurring in Chibok are sickening, as is the minimal media coverage. This supposed insurgency in Birmingham is alarming, but the fact that such events are occurring highlights resistance within the female community. Women all over the world risk their lives every day by sending their daughters to school or attending themselves: this risk is taken because the more women rise up and show apathy towards a life of servitude and passive acceptance of subjugation, the weaker the influence of extremism becomes on that community.

I would urge anyone who ever takes their education for granted, whoever sits in a lecture bored stiff wondering why they are there, to consider the risks that people take every single day just to learn basic skills that will improve their day to day living and opportunities. Spread the word about Chibok, to end this media silence on an event that so desperately requires the attention and assistance of the international community.