Why We Need Guys for Girls' Education

By: Katie Key

In the fall of 2012, a She’s the First chapter was founded at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by my dear friend, Emily Parkinson. She heard about the 501(c)(3) through her sorority and decided to take initiative and start a chapter at our university. The main goal of She’s the First is to raise money to send girls to school in countries where they would be the first in their family, community, friend group, etc. to receive an education. The organization and its many high school and college chapters also focus on raising awareness on the importance of educating girls in developing countries.

With my experience in being a part of She’s the First {Wisconsin}, I know that getting people to understand the importance of educating girls can be very difficult, especially when it involves other college-aged students. It’s difficult to have people notice you with their college blinders on, and even more difficult to have them stop for a second from their busy lives to hear what you have to say. This is especially difficult for one group of college students: guys.

When tabling or hosting fundraising events, we often get asked by guys, “Why not raise money to send guys to school, too?” While it is a valid question, it demonstrates the general lack of knowledge surrounding the issue of girls needing the support more. The best response we use to combat a question like this is, “In these countries, only half of the population is educated – males. Imagine what these countries can do if the other half – women – are educated as well.”

People are often stopped in their tracks by this statement. It makes so much sense, but people, especially males, often don’t realize what educating girls really can do. While the change for these countries, communities, families, etc. comes from within and begins with the education of these girls, a huge part of their success comes from the support of organizations like She’s the First, both fiscally and socially.

We are working to educate the uneducated half of these developing countries. However, we still need to work on educating half of our population here in the United States on the importance of girls’ education. In order to make the biggest difference in girls’ education globally, we need males domestically to understand why it’s so important and what benefits come from educating girls. We as millennials need to work to make sure everyone stops and takes their blinders off to the importance girls’ education. It won’t be easy, but in the era of Twitter and #selfies, anything is possible.

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