Girls’ education has been back in the news since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Certainly, some of the attention stems from a desire to gauge whether the Taliban has progressed in its beliefs and values. But for Afghan communities, and many others around the world, girls’ education is so much more than just a benchmark.

Education is a fundamental human right that remains unattainable for millions of children around the world, but especially girls. By some estimates, girls are four times more likely to be out of school than boys from the same background.

But beyond the human rights argument for girls’ education, research continues to reveal that the nexus of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education) and Goal 5 (Gender Equality) is crucial for the elimination of poverty and the equitable advancement of societies. That’s because girls and women play a pivotal role in transforming their communities from the ground up. When a girl is educated, she gets married later, tends to have fewer and healthier children, and prioritizes education for her children. Her family becomes more resilient, but so does her community. She is also able to contribute more to her family and community not just economically, but also politically and socially.

For many years the conversation around girls’ education centered on just getting them into school – even just primary school. But lately, the conversation has shifted to making sure that girls are getting a quality education. That includes secondary school, of course, but also university or college, or perhaps vocational training. The best option depends on each girl’s context.

Read the full article about education and gender equality by Joanne Lu at Global Washington.