By Rachel Auslander
On April 14, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in Nigeria. Activists created the hashtag #bringbackourgirls to draw attention to the abduction, and it worked, at least for a while. Over four million tweets mentioned the hashtag, but the use of it has faded out, along with the search for the girls. Over 100 days later, most of the girls are still in inhumane conditions and have not been found. Society has turned their backs on assertively rescuing the girls from their captors and giving them the education that they deserve. What is it going to take for the Nigerian government and the global community to realize that how they are dealing with this situation is a representation of how they are addressing education of women in all countries with gender inequality?
The Nigerian girls were brave enough to leave their families to receive an education, and their families were concerned enough to let their daughters go to school in a society where women’s education is not encouraged. After doing this, the girls were abducted. Now, girls and boys everywhere in Africa are afraid of being attacked, just because they are brave enough to get an education. Boko Haram translates to “Western education is a sin”. The group believes that women should look after their families at home and not be educated. However, the terrorist group isn’t the only supporter of this belief, since many other societies throughout the world believe this too. Therefore, it is culturally ingrained in these places for girls not to get an education. This a waste because these girls could discover the cure for cancer or do great things, but their society doesn’t encourage them to fulfill their potential.
When girls receive an education, they don’t just learn information, they become powerful, self-sufficient, and a resource for their communities. Malala Yousafzai brought awareness to how important it is for girls to be educated, no matter who they are or where they come from. With her movement, a lot more girls have the ability to go to school, but education of women is still not emphasized enough for it to become in ingrained in cultures where women are treated as second-class citizens. One person can start a movement, but it takes a society to embrace it and carry it out. As much attention as possible can be brought to the missing Nigerian girls, but without the Nigerian government making a concerted effort, it’s unlikely the girls will be returned any time soon.