In Harry Potter, what would have happened if Hermione couldn’t have gone to Hogwarts because she was a girl? Think about it. She was the super-intelligent bookworm who Ron and Harry turned to when they needed to understand something, whether it be to pass their classes, or to defeat Voldemort. Sure, maybe everything would’ve been ok, it’s not like the future of the wizarding world hinged on one person but Hermione’s help absolutely made a difference.
In the real world, girls are denied the right to education all the time. Sometimes it is because the government or other leadership won’t allow girls to attend through policies or intimidation. Other times, it comes down to socioeconomic policies, such as families being too poor to keep their children in school, sometimes just the daughters are pulled out while allowing sons to continue to go, since we sadly live in a word where sons are considered preferable and are given more. Sometimes it’s purely financial, other times is social, like it’s better for sons to be educated than girls. Sometimes the parents just are not very educated don’t always see the importance of education.
Even at school, girls are impacted. Some schools do not have bathroom facilities, and if they do it’s only for boys or it is outdoors and girls can’t do that. In some cultures, periods or blood is really taboo and girls will not be permitted to leave home or the family cannot afford or otherwise access menstrual supplies, forcing girls to miss school several days a month. In some places, young marriage is the norm, especially when the parents cannot afford their children’s upkeep and that can also cease education.
It’s so difficult to cover all of the reasons girls might miss out on school. You can learn a lot about these issues in books, like Half the Sky or I Am Malala, or in documentaries, such as Girl Rising. I
Education is biased close to home too. Such as how girls are told how to dress. We can’t wear spaghetti straps. We can’t wear shorts or skirts that are too short. We can’t have cleavage. All in the name of not distracting the boys. It’s confusing why we’re being objectified and having our education affected (e.g. through anxiety about whether our clothing will pass muster or being sent home) but boys aren’t being told to control themselves, to focus on school, nor are they having similar rules applied.
The Harry Potter Alliance is in it’s last week or so of #WithoutHermione, a campaign that is centred around girls education. They’ve partnered with She’s The First, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to girls around the world and supports them in completing their education.
Education for girls is something that I am really passionate about and I know a lot of other people are too. I hope that you will consider donating. You can learn more through the links I have provided or by going to the fundraiser platform, which has more information about what the HPA is doing (here: #WithoutHermione). You can also check out withouthermione.org