The Problem of Illiteracy

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What exactly is illiteracy? Illiteracy is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as: 1) not educated; especially, not knowing how to read or write. 2) showing a lack of education --noun. a person who does not know how to read or write -- illiteracy. May-be someone can read just a little, some can make out the sounds of a word and some just cannot read at all. Illiteracy is a “loss” to those who cannot read or write. The impact of illiteracy is devastating. This problem causes other problems as listed below.

· Loss of job opportunities in the market place

· Without a job people must rely on

- Unemployment

- Social Assistance to survive, Welfare, Medicare

· The illiterate does not have the reading and writing skills to reinforce these skills in their children.

- The illiterate cycle begins here!

· Illiteracy promotes high level of criminal behavior.

- Example: Correctional facilities have an average of Grade Three reading level.

Not only does the definition of illiteracy mean “loss” but to me it’s the root of poverty, crime and lost productivity in our cities.

Now that I have defined illiteracy, I want to raise the awareness of this problem, how it relates to women and propose a policy to help solve the problem. Illiteracy exists in America and in all nations all over the world, and the percentages of illiterate women are much higher than illiterate men. Many people assume that illiterate Americans are concentrated in large cities with troubled schools. Although this may be true in some cases, there are rural areas where illiterate women are overlooked.

According to the most recent statistics in the World Education Report, a study released last year by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, almost one-quarter of the world’s population, or 905 million individuals between 15 years of age and adulthood cannot read. Women account for 65 percent of the globe’s illiterate population. That’s more than half! Many women become and are dependent because of this problem. Illiteracy rates among females in some South Asian and African countries reach 80 percent because of culture. In Nepal, 93 percent of women over 30 live without being able to read. The majority of women that have this problem are due to:

1. culture

2. social aspects of women

3. religion

4. history

5. poverty

6. family responsibility

7. access to where classes are taught

We can look at the above factors in determining the reason for the high level of illiteracy, and other reasons as well.

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