Monday September 18, 2017

Education for Transformation: Improving the lives of girls and women

Girls in school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Girls in school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan ( Vicki Francis/Department for International Development/Wikpedia)

Listen to Full Episode 53:58

How do we go about building a better world that's more prosperous, more equitable, and happier? Maybe, it turns out, by improving the lives of girls and women, giving one half of the human race a fairer shake. That all seems to start with access to education. From the Stratford Festival, writer Marina Nemat, actor Maev Beaty, historian Natalie Zemon-Davis and social activist Samantha Nutt talk about the possibilities for global change when we level out the playing field of gender. **This episode originally aired June 2, 2016.


Educating girls has a huge social payoff: not only do they earn more money and improve the local economy, but they marry a little older and mature, the birthrate goes down, and their own children are better cared for. It's a big win-win for everyone -- women, their families, their country -- all of us benefit. But in many places in the world the education of girls and women is still a challenge. 

Here's some frightening facts: Two thirds of all the illiterate people in the world are women, a quarter of the women in developing nations haven't completed primary school, and around the world, 31 million girls of primary school age are out of school. (UNESCO)

We know that fewer educated women die in childbirth, that education narrows the pay gap between men and women, and that educated women find work more easily. Economies prosper, people are happier. We're all better off when girls and women are able to go to school.

This episode is one a series recorded at the Stratford Festival in 2015. 

Guests in the program: 

  • Marina Nemat, social activist in Iran who spent two years as a teenager in prison, author of Prisoner of Tehran.

  • Natalie Zemon Davis, world-famous social historian, author of The Return of Martin Guerre.
  • ​Maev Beaty, multiple Dora-Award winner and acclaimed Stratford actor, Goneril in King Lear and Queen Catherine in The Last Wife, among others.

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