Challenges to Female Education in the Developing World and International Efforts to Address Those Challenges
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Females around the world face many challenges to obtaining an education. While there are many studies that document the benefit to female education as well as a few challenges that females face, there is not yet a study that summarizes major challenges to female education, particularly in modernizing countries, and the recent steps of various international organizations and businesses that address these challenges. This thesis helps to fill that void. It uses specific countries in the developing world, namely Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, Yemen, Uganda, and South Africa, to represent a good cross section of developing countries, which, in turn, highlight a few major problems that females encounter in pursuit of an education. It finds that the challenges to education, while not true of each country, include poverty, religious custom, menstruation, child marriage, war conflicts, patriarchal traditions, and antagonism towards Western education. It then examines the major international responses that address these obstacles to female education. In particular, it looks at the work of the United Nations with subsidiaries like UNICEF and UNESCO, the World Bank, USAID, the Girl-effect organization, Malala Fund, and other grass root efforts. It concludes that the solutions to the challenges that females face in getting an education are beginning to show some progress, but that more has to be done, particularly in influencing old cultures through the use of education itself to create new cultures of equality between males and females.