Educating Women Saves Children, Study Finds

The New York Times reports the findings of a new study which showed that giving young women an education resulted in saving the lives of more than four million children worldwide in 2009.

American researchers analyzed 915 censuses and surveys from 175 countries tracking education, economic growth, H.I.V. infection rates and child deaths from 1970 to 2009.

By using statistical models, the researchers found that for every extra year of education women had, the death rate for children under 5 dropped by almost 10 percent. They estimated that 4.2 million fewer children died in 2009 than in 1970 because women of child-bearing age in developing countries were more educated. In 1970, women in developing countries ages 18 to 44 had attended about two years of school. In 2009, it was about seven years.

The study was paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was published Friday in the London-based medical publication Lancet.

“Investments in education pay off” by providing better health in the future, said the study’s lead author, Emmanuela Gakidou, an associate professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Educated women tend to use health services more and often make better choices on hygiene, nutrition and parenting.

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