“Families who traditionally do not believe in girls going to school,” explained a Nigerian activist, “will be less likely to see any benefits in sending their girls to school because of the stigma attached to rape and sexual violence.” Photo credit: Michael Fleshman / Foreign Policy in Focus
The abduction of over 200 girls has sparked global response and attention to the largest West African country – Nigeria. Apart from the terrorist perspective to this story, one major feature is the fact that these girls were kidnapped from their citadel of education.
The power of education in a girl’s life is vital. According to Nicholas Kristof, “the greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles but girls reading books”. Educating a woman is critical tool in ending global poverty because she is armed with adequate knowledge on how “to boost her financial status, produce healthy children and continue the circle of education by educating her children”.
The article “Standing Up for Girls Education in Nigeria” reveals that the recent Boko Haram attack has created a setback for girl’s education in Northern Nigeria because “families who traditionally do not believe in girls going to school will be less likely to see any benefits in sending their girls to school because of the stigma attached to rape and sexual violence.”
Despite all the challenges facing these girls, the Nigerian women have a history of standing up for their rights through peaceful protests. Social media has also become a powerful tool in the campaign to end violence against women and girls. With the abduction of over 200 high school girls, the trending hashtag #bringbackourgirls has engendered international concern.
This post was written by Ifeoluwa Ayanwole. She recently graduated with an MA in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa and conducted her graduate research on the importance of elite bargains in Nigerian politics.