June 18, 2019 | 72° F

EDITORIAL: U. pushes for education for all girls

She’s the First sends positive message about helping women


With a population of almost 70,000 students, it is impressive that Rutgers can accommodate for the education of so many. So when She’s the First (STF) came about, it was an even greater feat.

STF is a group on campus that advocates for the education of young girls in impoverished countries. The young girls that the group aids are usually the first in their families to graduate from high school. STF helps these girls by educating their own organization members on the importance of education, and then organizing fundraisers. Funding that STF manages to raise ends up being used on financing the girls’ high school educations. So, why does Rutgers emphasize girls’ high school educations and not their college educations?

In many of these impoverished countries, girls who are of high school age are often disrupted by societal expectations or familial obligations. Sometimes these girls are forced to get jobs and provide for their families because their situations call for it. Other times, these girls are forced into arranged marriages at young ages. But whatever the reason may be, there ends up being the possibility of their education being cut short, and STF acts quickly to stop this from happening.

The reason that STF focuses so highly on getting these girls to complete their education is because it gives them the opportunity to be better equipped for their futures. For every year of schooling that a girl finishes, she is able to earn up to 20 percent more money. It also lowers the chances of the girl marrying earlier, and even increases the chances of them being in a healthy relationship, having fewer, healthier children and using the skills learned in school to support her family and community.

STF is not just an empty cause with a big idea. Since 2009, it has helped fund over 923 scholars, donating more than $1.3 million.

Rutgers, although an esteemed university, is not perfect. There are many ways the educational system within the school can be improved. For example, Rutgers could find a way to implement smaller class sizes, or it could work to increase the number of buses available to students. And with these existing issues, some students may wonder: Why are we focusing on the education of others before ourselves?

This argument is not one that is new to issues involving the aid of other countries. People often think that if issues exist in their own area, there is no need to go fix things anywhere else, as one’s own immediate surroundings should be his or her biggest concern. This is often said of any branch of feminism. People think: There is room for improvement for the position of women in society here, so there is no need to go elsewhere. But this thinking is wrong. You can both improve education here and in other places.

This goes not only for Rutgers, but for the other chapters of STF in America as well. With our position as a superpower in the world, it is our responsibility to aid those in need. America is almost never hesitant in injecting itself into other countries for other reasons, so if we can do it as a positive force of change, why would we turn down this opportunity? Having this chapter of STF at Rutgers helps the University send out a message of compassion and diligence. It is wonderful to see Rutgers students focus on a specific goal and work hard to achieve it. There is no doubt that STF is making a positive impact on the world.

The Daily Targum

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