16 Days of Activism – Day 15: Militarism and Priorities

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by 2015 in low and middle income countries, 100 million children, or 1 in 6, will not have completed primary school. Furthermore,UNICEF reports that half of children who are out-of-school are from countries that have been affected by conflict, with more than half the female population out-of-school. Together, the top ten countries by expenditure spent $1.28 trillion on militaries in 2013, accounting for just over 73% of the global expenditure.

When countries enter into conflict, state institutions, particularly education and internal security, are weakened as funding is siphoned off to accommodate increased military budgets.

Militarism is an ideology, a set of values “rooted in rigid patriarchal constructions of gender, through which men and boys are socialized to believe that violent masculinities are ideal”. In cultures of militarism, money used for arms, training, defense programs, and operations comes at the cost of education and development. In effect, governments are choosing violence and war in the name of peace and security over education and stability for their people. To put things into perspective, in 2011, an estimated $1.735 trillion was spent on global militaries. In 2010, the extra annual cost needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 was not even 20% of military costs, coming it at $329 billion. 

With this kind of disparity, there is no question that governments are prioritizing military spending over services that could improve the quality of life for its citizens. Something needs to be done to correct this great imbalance. We can no longer sit by and watch our governments invest so much money in military spending while the human rights of people, women and girls in particular, are being violated every day. For more information and further resources, look at these two articles by Rutgers, Military vs. Education: Expenditures and Priorities andWhat is Militarism?


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