Educating women can alleviate India's problems: Cherie Blair | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Educating women can alleviate India's problems: Cherie Blair

delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2008 17:26 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee
Anuradha Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
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For Cherie Blair the secret to improving our homes and by extension the world starts with a simple yet vital move – educating girls.

See webcast of Cherie Blair's speech

Blair's believes women education can actually help alleviate many of India's problems and even boost our economy.

"In fact, a Goldman Sachs study suggests if over the next 20 years India could narrow the gender gap, it can add a per cent to its already impressive growth rate every year. I understand why the government here is making such great efforts to get girls to schools," said Blair.

Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit on Friday, Blair drew from her personal experience to support her advocacy of education for girls – a gift she said that helped her become who she was. Blair, better known as former British PM Tony Blair's wife, is a leading human rights lawyer and campaigner for women's equality.

"I know education is important to Hindustan Times because I did a Google search on education and education for girls and it threw up hundreds of articles. Without education I would not be here, I would not be the QC (Queen's Counsel)," said Blair, relating how she grew up in an "all female household" in a working class Liverpool.

Speaking on the importance of educating girls, Blair said educated mothers were more likely to educate their children.

Blair said that India was a large country with a huge population, but some issues were a cause for concern.

"It is worrying that UNESCO found that 1 out of 4 children out of education – lives here (India) – more of these are girls," said Blair.

She said often providing a safe, private toilet space could encourage parents to send their girls to school, especially where fears of sexual violence were concerned.

Answering a question on cases of honour killings in India and United Kingdom escalating and strategies to counter them, Blair said: "The first thing I would do is to stop calling these crimes honour killing. There is nothing honourable about them. We pander to them (killers), by calling them honour killings," she said.

See webcast of Cherie Blair's speech