We know how important education is for women’s empowerment and community development, but what about tertiary education?
Tertiary or higher education is one provided by colleges and/or universities, yielding undergraduate, master’s and PhD degrees.
Tertiary qualifications can indeed help increase employability and earnings, depending on the career. It can also further your career progress and provide skills required to thrive in the job market including critical thinking, communication, technological know-how and more. If you have a serious interest in a subject area, tertiary education can also provide in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge on the field.
In 2015, for the first time ever, women are more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree than men. The US Census Bureau found that 30.2 per cent of women had a bachelor’s degree, while only 29.9 per cent did. This was driven by young women aged 25-34, where 37.5 per cent had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to men’s 29.5 per cent in the same age group. The same trend occurs in the UK and Australia, where women are 35 per cent and 20 per cent more likely to go to university than men respectively.
This trend is promising, but UNESCO argues that there’s still more work to do: “Over the past years, and as secondary education enrolments increase, the access of women to higher education has improved significantly. However, progress is still possible, notably their participation in fields such as science and technology.” Still, “women graduates must be seen as part of the essential human resource base of each country.”
At the end of the day, the option of getting a higher education is to each their own. However, it is important to consider the power that education can contribute to women’s personal, professional and social development.