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Women and Literacy

Women and Literacy

by Kamala Sarup

On 8 September, every year, we celebrate International Literacy Day. According to recent estimates, there are approximately 862 million illiterate people in the world. More than 100 million children lack access to education. Nearly two-thirds of whom are girls.

Literacy means the ability to read and write. More schools and better language teachers for more women and children will increase the literacy rate (percentage of people in a total population who are literate). Literacy depends also on the wealth of a country. A country that is rich can afford more and better schools and pay the teachers well. It is hard to imagine a functioning country without literate people. If the citizens cannot read and write, how can they learn anything about development and peace?

Technology and science depend on literate people. We can't provide instructions to build and operate machines and computers and disseminate scientific knowledge without literacy.

Literacy is key to social and economic development of a country. Access to literacy is a basic step towards achieving the general well being of women. Literacy is key to sustainable development. Hence, literacy is considered as a major tool in building a developed and peaceful society in the 21st Century. Socially, however, there is poverty, displacement and insecurity, and psychological effects which include depression and other disorders.

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Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup associates and writes for http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/. She is a regular contributor to United Press International - Asia News. She is specializes in in-depth reporting and writing on peace, anti-war, women, terrorism, democracy, and development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal (booklets); Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media, (book); Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (media research). She has also written two collections of stories. Sarup's interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication, philosophy, feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development. A meeting of jury members held on March 21, 2007 in Geneva decided to honor Sarup, with an Honorable Mention International Award for reporting on women's issues.

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