Natalia Kovachevski`s “Girl’s Education” Story

Photographer: Natalia Kovachevski
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Girls are more likely than boys to never go to school (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). According to UNICEF, every year, 12 million girls around the world are married as children, often leading to early pregnancy, putting their education and health at risk.

 

This image represents the first prize of the jury chaired by Yann Arthus Bertrand for the photo contest : “Il était une fois, demain” (Once upon a time…: tomorrow) and it was taken at Tokoin district school, in Lomé, Togo.

 

The obstacles to girls getting education

GENDER STEREOTYPES

“Gender stereotypes about the role of women as relegated to the family sphere underpin all obstacles to girls’ equal access to quality education. Girls are often socialised to assume domestic and care responsibilities, with the assumption that they will be economically dependent on men. The stereotype of men as breadwinners leads to the prioritisation of boys’ education.”

LEGISLATION, POLICIES AND BUDGETS

“Several states have laws and policies that curtail girls’ equal enjoyment of the right to education. Even apparently gender-neutral laws and policies can – often owing to prevailing social norms – result in girls being left out of school… These include laws and policies that allow child marriage, permit discriminatory school admission criteria, such as excluding pregnant girls, and restrict girls’ freedom of movement.”

COSTS

“Girls are more likely to perform poorly at school and drop out when parents or guardians live in poverty and/or cannot afford to pay school expenses, such as school fees, textbooks, uniforms, transportation and lunches. This is compounded by gendered expectations related to domestic and care responsibilities, and parental biases towards boys’ education for them to have better career prospects.”

This image illustrates the happiness to learn. The girls were wearing the happiest smile when gaining the knowledge and skills they needed for their development and independence. These girls are the victims of inequalities and discrimination throughout their course.

 

The portrait of the High Priestess Voodoo : Mama Kponou, who directs more than 150 deities from a dozen voodoo convents and has confirmed her decision for UNICEF to allow children in convents, to be educated. (Togoville, Togo)

DISTANCE

“When schools are far from homes, such as in rural and remote areas, the likelihood of girls’ non-attendance increases. Girls are also particularly affected when their freedom of movement is restricted… Girls in remote and rural settings also tend to drop out of school more regularly than other girls owing to often exacerbated expectations relating to childcare, seasonal work or fetching firewood and water.”

EDUCATION INFRASTRUCTURE

“Girls may be unwilling to attend school or discouraged from doing so by parents or guardians when schools do not provide water, safe and separate toilets/changing rooms nor take into account girls’ particular health needs. Their concentration and participation in class may also be negatively affected in those circumstances.”

 

The second photography was taken in the hospital of Sotouboua, located in the Central Region, where mothers and sisters were taking care of their sick children.I took theses pictures during a travel in the context of a humanitarian mission for the french association “La Chaîne de l’Espoir”, which also develops an education program to enable the schooling of children and especially some projects that not only promote access girls at school, but also to keep them in school.  

 

 

Recommendations to give girls equal access to education

The report makes 18 recommendations to achieve gender equality. It says countries and all stakeholders should ensure that:

  • All forms of discrimination, laws, policies and practices that directly or indirectly block girls’ access to education are eradicated
  • Adequate funding and budgets are given for girls’ education
  • Every girl is aware of her right to education
  • Girls’ education and an end to gender stereotypes are promoted
  • School curriculums, textbooks and teaching methods are reviewed and revised
  • Girls enjoy the same quality of education as boys
  • Teachers are qualified and adequately trained including on gender equality
  • Girls get access to safe drinking water, separate toilets and resources for menstrual hygiene – with attention to disabled girls
  • Education is safe and physically accessible, including for girls in rural and remote areas (and including safe transportation)
  • Pregnant girls can continue in school – and have access to childcare, breastfeeding facilities and counselling on school premises
  • Violence against girls is eliminated
  • Girls and schools are protected from attacks on girls’ education including use of schools for military or shelter purposes

 

The sorority between the girls on the street, taking care of one another. (Lomé, Togo)

 

 

Article Source: TheirWorld.org 

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