One of the most exciting aspects of the Global Goals is their interconnectedness. Previously, the multiple areas of development have been treated rather separately within their own categories. Now, however, we have a way to explore how social, environmental and economic development are all related to one another. This year, we are exploring how each goal and their associated targets need to see the achievement of each other in order to be fulfilled as a whole.
Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, and Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality.
A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the interconnectedness of Goal 5 and Goal 6 and saw that girls and women in developing countries are disproportionately more affected by a lack of clean water and sanitation than men, especially when it comes to livelihoods and education.
Girls and women are also disproportionately more affected by a lack of education than men, especially in developing countries. In fact, in Australia, we have more tertiary-educated women than men (however, less women than men in the workforce – which we will discuss when looking at the connection between Goal 4 and Goal 8).
It is estimated that a total of 65 million girls lack access to a basic education around the world. This is compared to a total of 56 million boys around the world who lack access to basic education.
For every year of secondary education a girl receives, evidence demonstrates that they will receive a 25% increase in wages in their working lives.
Target 5.3 requires that by 2030, we eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Early and forced marriage is a significant barrier to girls obtaining an education. Ensuring girls have access to an education, however, also affects early and forced marriage. UNESCO estimates that if all girls had access to secondary education in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, incidences of child marriage could more than halve, falling by 64%. This would bring the number in of girls in early or forces marriage from 2.9 million to 1 million.
The cycle of education does not just stop with one girl being educated. Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school, demonstrating that an investment in is an investment in future generations.