Topics of Interest - Education

Women’s education has a ripple effect that affects themselves, their families, and their communities for generations. Educated women are also more inclined to understand their rights and they and their children are less likely to live in poverty. 

Despite continuing campaigning and a strong evidence base there is still a long way to go before education is equally accessed by men and women. 

The Right to an Education

Recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to “free and compulsory primary education, without discrimination and of good quality [2]” extends to both persons—both men and women. It is critical that women have access to education because it “ plays an important role in enabling girls and women to secure other rights.”  


Education introduces women to basic health information that can improve nutrition and decisions relating to supporting a family [3] With this, women become more empowered and can make more informed decisions about their bodies and wellbeing, along with their family’s. A better understanding of their bodies will help protect women against life-threatening diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. Finally, “ Women's education leads directly to better reproductive health, improved family health, economic growth, for the family and for society, as well as lower rates of child mortality and malnutrition.”   

Poverty Reduction

It’s a simple equation that with more education comes a better job. With sparse access to education, women worldwide are struggling to provide for themselves and their families, resulting in a high amount of women living in poverty. Denying women equal opportunity to education “trap[s] girls in a vicious downward circle of denied rights.” Educating women can help break this cycle by enabling them to become more employable. 

Ripple Effects 

Women’s access to education causes a ripple effect that affects herself, her family, and the generations after her. The United Nations Population Fund cites that “the education of parents is linked to their children's educational attainment, and the mother's education is usually more influential than the father's.[1]” Mothers who are educated are able to make more informed decisions about family size, [1] which can eliminate the choice of deciding which child to send to school. Overall, the positive effects of women’s education are evident, which is why WONDER is dedicated to improving these conditions worldwide.  

Quick Facts:

  • An extra year of schooling will increase a woman's future earnings by about 15 per cent, compared with 11 per cent for a man [5]
  • Educated girls and women will earn up to 25% more and will reinvest 90% of her income in her family [4]
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5 than a child born to an illiterate woman [6]
  • A study in Uganda demonstrated that each additional year of education for girls reduces their chances of contracting HIV by 6.7 percent [6]
  • In Mali, women with secondary education or higher have an average of 3 children while those with no education have an average of 7 children [6]