One of the most admirable qualities of the University is our commitment to excellence in academics, athletics, and character. But, it is crucial that students remember to carry that excellence beyond themselves and beyond the University. We live in a partisan era, where any kind of political gain in the name of excellence seems impossible. However, education should be seen as bipartisan, as the right to pursue an education is crucial to developing a better global economy, ensuring social equality and increasing wages for millions.
Currently, a bill is being worked on in the 116th United States Congress, titled the “Keeping Girls in School Act.” Around the world, 130 million girls are not enrolled in school. Specifically, girls ages 10-19 are three times more likely than boys to be kept out of school, particularly in countries affected by conflict.
When this many young people are denied an education, it is not only personally detrimental, but disadvantageous to the global economy. Studies have found that if every girl were to receive 12 years of free, quality education, lifetime earnings for women could increase by $15-30 trillion globally. Additionally, we see that girls’ wages rise as much as 20 percent for every year beyond fourth grade that they attend school.
This problem has visible ramifications for our world, and it is important for those who have the privilege and opportunity to do so to advocate for change. There are many simple opportunities available to help invoke change, including calling or emailing your local representative, writing letters to the White House and engaging in grassroots campaigns, such as those created by non-profits like the Borgen Project. No matter which path of advocacy you chose to partake in, engage in a way that embodies the pursuit of excellence, and make your voice heard.
Hannah Williams is a second-year student in the College.