Significance of Women Literacy in Developing Countries
In most developing countries, women are hard hit by economic, social, economic and political exclusion due to low literacy levels(Syomwene and Kindiki 38). Rural women tend to experience intertwined challenges due tolimited access to literacy opportunities resulting to extreme levels of poverty, diseases, hunger and challenging reproductive health (Razmi, Falahi and Abbasian 178). Girls have limited access to basic education due to poverty and school dropout because of early marriages, female genital mutilation and unplanned pregnancies(Syomwene and Kindiki 42). The current study will analyze the significance of women’s literacy. Increasing education opportunities to women and girls could address some of these challenges facing women in developing countries as a tool for women’s empowerment, personal health, maternal health, and reproductive health.
Women literacy tend to improve the family health. In combating various diseases affecting families in the developing countries, literacy plays a significant role in prevention and early treatment(Lusardi and Mitchell 5). Women play an essential role in protecting and preventing illness especially the communicable diseases in their families. Women who have acquired basic literacy skills tend to gain knowledge relating to theproper diet for their families and attend prenatal care that improve their health and welfare of infants(Currie and Vogl 36). The high mortality rate among infants is associated with preventable diseases and poor nutrition, which could be addressed through formal literacy. First, educated women have a stable source of income, which is able to cater for a proper diet, prenatal care services and cater for family health expenses(Muralidharan & Sheth, 2016). Secondly,a woman who is literate has knowledge and skills essential to improving children’s health, knowledge relating to thesignificance of observing hygiene and can identify locally available remedies(Syomwene andKindiki 38). These practices tend to lower mortality rate and ability to control or prevent common infections at thehousehold level.
Women literacy tend to improve theeconomic lifestyle of the household reducing poverty level. Literacy in women tends to reduce extreme poverty through income generation from women’s employment that helps in breaking the cycles of poverty(Lusardi and Mitchell 11). Women with astable income in formal employment or self-employment tend to eradicate poverty, provide abetter diet for their families and cater for health expenses. Literate women understand the value of educating their children, which improve theemployability of their household members improving standards of living that improve per capita growth in income. Syomwene and Kindiki states that“increasing the share of women with secondary education by 1 percent boosts annual per capital income growth by 0.3 percent on average” (39).This argument supports the view that women literacy effectively provide anopportunity for women to engage in economic activities that improve their economic performance and household standards of living as measures to promote national productivity.
Women literacy improve their participation in thelabour market. Educated women tend to improve their employability in both formal and informal sector, which is crucial in theeconomy of the developing countries. Their participation in labor market pose significant benefits to their household sincemajority of women’s income is used in improving thelife of their children. In addition, mothers who are literate tend to instill values of education to their children promoting a culture of literacy from a household level(Lusardi and Mitchell 44). Therefore, women literacy tend to improve productivity, income earnings and economic growth which are vital in developing countries. According to Syomwene and Kindiki, excluding women in literacy programs translates to theless educated workforce, low productivity, insufficient labor allocation, which diminishes economic prosperity. Furthermore, global focus studies argue that countries with high women literacy are exposed to high economic growth(Currie and Vogl).
One of the challenge facing developing countries is high population growth rate which is an unsustainable due to limited resources(Cohen 261). High population explosion results to high infant mortality rate, poor nutrition and deteriorating health of children. Literacy in women facilitates in population control through theuse of diverse family planning tools. Additionally, literate women are able to select health diet for their families reducing prevalence rate of nutritional conditions. Women play an important part in determining when to get a child and number of children they wish to have(Currie andVogl 4). The opportunity cost for women to stay at home increases with literacy, hence educated women will have smaller households that are easier to manage. The literacy among women tends to influence preference for quality rather than quantity of children per household where few children are preferred to improve the quality of care. Mabel and Olomukoro postulates that a strong relationship between a mother and her children increases with increase in literacy.
Women literacy provides an opportunity for them to participate and lead in political decision making. Educated women tend to increase their chances of engaging in political and leadership activities that does not only influence their inclusion in decision making, but also present an opportunity to develop legislation to protect the interests of women(Mabel and Olomukoro 67). Through education and literacy practices, women are able to effectively take part in civic processes that are vital in promoting economic development, democracy, and better governance. One challenge affecting women empowerment is early pregnancies and female genital mutilation among other vices that are committed to women(Syomwene and Kindiki 40). Addressing these vices through a legislation mechanism facilitate in retaining more girls in school, which translates to thehigher number of literate women in developing countries to spur economic growth(Cohen 262). Furthermore, literate women are able to command respect from their spouses reducing instances of domestic violence and their vulnerability to abuse.
In developing countries, political decisions also influence theestablishment of policies that aim at empowering women economically with programs such as microfinance loans to expand their economic landscape(Mabel and Olomukoro 68). Therefore, theparticipation of women in thepolitical process tends to influence economic initiatives through establishment of policies that cater for financial needs of women(Razmi, Falahi and Abbasian 178). Education also influences the capability of women to be more productive in agriculture through theintegration of modern farming mechanisms that improve the yields and income generated. Currie and Vogl postulates that highly empowered women are able to establish economic pillars to support the financial needs of their families.
In conclusion, women literacy serves as an important tool for growth and economic development. As seen in the analysis, women literacy achieve economic, health, social and political empowerment resulting to healthier households that are more productive. Economic empowerment ofwomen require literacy to be able to apply economic aspects in the business and workplace. The analysis has explored various ways through which literacy in women is critical to developing countries by increasing income for women, promote healthy families, control population growth, effectively contributes to agricultural activities and promote political decision making relating to women empowerment. The research also highlights theeffectiveness of literacy to facilitating women in positive growth of developing countries’ economy.
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