By Iris Almeida-Cèté, CNW Telbec

MONTREAL – “You educate a girl (in Afghanistan), and you educate a whole society.” Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

March 8 is a day to remind ourselves of one the most powerful ideas of our times: women’s equal access to education. Whilst this idea has century-deep roots in our Canadian culture, it is just starting to break ground in other parts of our world.

As a woman educated in India, Europe and Canada, and as a leader having led and supported development and education organizations globally, I can state emphatically that I believe educating girls and women is probably the single most productive investment one can make to create wealth in the form of strong communities and healthy societies.

Indeed, it is a well-documented fact that improving both the availability and quality of education for girls and women has proven to be one of the most potent antidotes to human insecurity. Take for example the African continent, where it has been demonstrated that women’s limited access to education and employment (51% of African women 15 years and older know how to read and write) reduces the annual growth rate by 0.8%. If this growth had in effect materialized, African economies would have grown by 100% in the past 30 years. (Forum sur le partenariat avec l’Afrique, sept. 2007)

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Women+need+equal+access+education/4397881/story.html#ixzz1Fx9mCxVL

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