Breaking the cycle of poverty through literacy


To the Editor:
More than 7 billion people live in the world, half of whom are women and girls. Shockingly, 70 percent of the world’s illiterate are female. There are many reasons to educate girls, but one of the greatest benefits is that it can break the cycle of poverty in one generation.
For every additional year of primary education beyond average, a woman can expect a 10 percent to 20 percent rise in earning power. That number increases to 15 percent to 25 percent higher earning power with each additional year of secondary school. Once a woman has access to an income, she is likely to put 90 percent of it into the health and well-being of her family, as opposed to men who tend to invest about 30 percent.
In Rwanda, 19 years after the genocide there, the country leads the way in Africa in education, health, the economy, the environment and in elected politics, all powered by its women. Nelson Mandela said that the way to world peace is to educate a girl.
In contrast, many countries in the Arab world, in spite of all their oil and gas, are way behind in all development indicators, because women are denied basic rights such as education.
Join the Franciscan Peace Center for a free screening of “Girl Rising” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20.  This compelling documentary about nine real-life girls representing millions of girls globally, who are thriving through education and persistence. The event will take place at Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Blvd. in Clinton. It is presented in collaboration with the Clinton Community College Diversity Committee.  For more information, visit or call (563) 242-7611.
Laura Anderson
Franciscan Peace Center

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