Do African women need education?

Women's education in Africa is a topic for the discussion that lasts not the first year and even not the first century. Read an article to find out if African women need education. 

women's education in nigeria

The problems of women's education seem to be so far from the modern civilized world. It looks terribly weird that in some countries they still have to fight for women's education rights while in the other countries the women lead the Ministries and the Parliaments. It's easy to answer the question if African women need education. It's better to ask if they can afford it. What are the nowadays problems for African women to get an education? 


Women's education statistics say that depending on the region; there are from 30% to 90% illiterate women in Nigeria. They are the serious numbers as for now, but even this mark is much better than ten years ago. Besides, the neighboring countries with Nigeria and some other African states have much worse indexes. 

For example, the Republic of Ghana, which has valid gender parity, can't boast of even these statistics. At North Ghana education for women is forbidden because of religion beliefs of locals who mostly profess Islam. Here are 24 millions of girls at the Black part of Africa (Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Zambia, and Malawi) who aren't allowed to education. 

women's education in africa

UNESCO calculates that there are 24 nations in the world with disastrous female education problem. 17 of them are Islamic countries. It estimates many Muslim-majority nations had about a half or less literacy rate in its adult women population (Niger, Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mali, Gambia, and Chad). In regions closer to Europe situation looks better. In Egypt, they have a women literacy rate of 64%. 


Women's education in Islam isn't officially banned, but often the strict Muslim parents don't allow their daughters to visit schools or universities. During the war in Afghanistan (which isn't the part of Africa, but still) the strict Muslims had destroyed schools that had taught the women. A lot of politics of African Islamic countries are contemptuous about women's right to education even now. Secular Islamic states instead are trying to low the level of women illiteracy, creating the warm conditions for education parity. 

But often behind the problem of women's education in Africa stands the poverty. The families around Nigeria and other countries which have few children must choose whom they are going to give education. Always the choice falls to the boys, who are traditionally considered as breadwinners. The daughters in the same time are considered as the homemakers, so in traditional culture, the education of these girls starts and finishes at the kitchen. 

women's rights for education

Besides, education is a priority of the superiors and according to “The Nigerian Tradition” men have the higher value, and they are dominated by the women. It reminds the Islamic beliefs about male superiority and female subordination. 

Patriarchal practices lead to women rights discrimination in the other branches as well. Even though a woman would get an education, it doesn't mean she would get an excellent career opportunity responsible to her level. The better positions are offered to men. So due to lack of job opportunities, women often abandon the education by themselves. 

And, finally, even after all these years after implementation of Matters Bills and international declarations, the governments don't control the educational situation in their countries, considering it as not that dangerous problem. The National Assembly, which obliges countries to implement all those declarations in its turn, isn't attentive enough about their fulfillment. 

READ ALSO:Top ten best universities in Nigeria


The interesting fact is that better-educated nations are richer than illiterate. Nigeria on own example demonstrates this consistent pattern. Thanks to increasing of female education level the economy is starting to grow too. Furthermore, the lifelong of women in regions with the higher level of literacy is also increased. 

UNICEF deputy representative Robert Limlim thinks that educating children, especially, girls will allow Nigeria to achieve the goal of being among the largest 20 economies in the world. The girls who get an education are known to be the basis for sound economic and social development. Educating girls produce mothers who are educated and who will, in turn, educate their children, care for their families and provide their children with adequate nutrition. 

women's education unisef


Presently there are a lot of governmental programs for female education, but as we tell above, it's a common experience to forget about these programs redirecting the budget resources for other facilities. So often the opportunities which are cut off by the state are giving by the international organizations and private charitable foundations. 

The biggest organization that supports educational development in countries of Africa is UNICEF. The foundation often organizes the missions monitoring the situation in very particular regions and trying to improve the situation with a help of the volunteers and financial donations. 

It's the same way the private charitable foundations work. But they are frequently focused on helping specific people with specific stories. And most of all these foundations don't have a chance to help the whole towns or regions because of not that high level of the facility. 


The program sounds great. Education is the key to empower communities to improve people´s lives. It is a matter of needs and a vision of a better future to share with the people whose daily life is very limited about that vision.

Answered 1 year ago.
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