"[G]irls’ education may be the single most cost-effective kind of aid work. It’s cheap, it opens minds, it gives girls new career opportunities and ways to generate cash, it leads them to have fewer children and invest more in those children, and it tends to bring women from the shadows into the formal economy and society. It’s not a panacea, of course. Lebanon and Sri Lanka were leaders in girls’ education, and both ended up torn apart by conflict. In India, the state of Kerala has done a fine job in girls’ education, but its state economy is still a mess and dependent on remittances. But overall, educating girls probably has a greater transformative effect on a country than anything else one can do."
"[E]ducating girls may be the single most cost-effective way to empower and modernize societies, to help people help themselves. Larry Summers said back when he was chief economist at the World Bank that girls’ education was such a great investment that the question was not whether we could afford to educate girls, but whether we could afford not to. Of course, it’s also important to educate boys, but there are a couple of reasons why girls’ education brings an even higher return. First, it reduces birth rates very considerably, which brings the country a demographic dividend. Second, more educated people tend to have higher incomes, and women are more likely than men to use extra income to educate their own children and to start small businesses."