By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When Nigerian rebels captured teenage girls, the world was in shock because of the violence and, according to Nicholas Kristof, in targeting girls it was understood that girls who read books are a powerful force in transforming society.

A major factor correlating with instability is unemployed young men, ages 15-24. A study is cited that for every 1 percentage point increase of those in that age group, the risk of civil war increases by 4 percent. Curbing birthrates tends to lead to stability.

If you educate a girl, there will be fewer children but educating girls can make a significant difference – in the labor force, boosting the economy, and promoting development.

Bangladesh is a good example. When it became independent, it invested in educating girls.

Kristof urges Congress to pass The International Violence Against Women Act and spend funds not just on the military but on educating girls.

Read more in The New York Times.

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