Press release - International Women's Day: The doors to education remain closed for girls and women!

Paris8 March 2020 - Aide et Actioninternational association development through educationIn this context, Aide et Action is reminding the world that while women constitute 63% of the illiterate population, nearly 29 million girls are still excluded from primary education. Because women's place in society is also prepared at school, Aide et Action is working to ensure that girls and women have access to quality education!


"Today, girls' schooling is still prevented by many factors: discrimination, early marriages and pregnancies, family poverty, insecurity in and around the school...". notes Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER, Director General of Aide et Action "Speaking out in favour of girls' schooling and women's literacy/empowerment is essential, but it is not enough. It is urgent to act!". This is why, in addition to setting up programmes dedicated to girls and women, Aide et Action and its partners are actively raising awareness and advocating with the communities so that mentalities change, obstacles are removed and girls and women also have access to quality education.

Thus, because being born a girl in India still too often condemns one to be deprived of education, since 2015 Aide et Action has been leading the Enlight project which supports primary school-age girls (currently 300) from the most marginalised and vulnerable communities living in difficult conditions in 10 Indian cities. "In India, there are stigmatised and discriminated castes, but being a girl in these castes is worse than anything, insists Albert BOSGO, Head of Project Enlight in Chennai. First, the communities had to be convinced of the need to send their daughters to school. Meetings were organised once or twice a month to discuss with the families, especially the mothers. Today, adults and children are convinced that education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty.

The cause of girls and women is at the heart of Aide et Action's priorities. Thus, Enlight is one of the flagship projects supported by "Education for Women Now", an international philanthropic campaign initiated in early 2020 by Aide et Action, whose main objective is to fight against gender inequalities in the world. "This fight starts at the school and education gates. The deconstruction of mental and social representations built around women can only be done with the participation of all: men, children, public and religious authorities. insists Vanessa PERRETTE, Director of Resource Development.

"Accompanying girls and women on the road to education is a major concern for Aide et Action. The outreach work carried out with girls and women provides them with the knowledge and skills they are or have been deprived of, but it also helps guide them on the path to equality, freedom and active citizenship. It gives them back a voice, one that has been stolen from them for centuries " says Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER.

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For further information and/or interview requests, please contact
Anne CASSIOT, Press/Public Relations Manager - Aide et Action
[email protected] / 01 55 25 70 13 / @anne_cassiot


Gender inequality in figures around the world

  • In 2018, 55% of the 100 million out-of-school children (primary and secondary) were girls
  • Nearly 16 million girls aged 6-11 will never attend primary school (compared to about 8 million boys)
  • 67% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education only; 50% in lower secondary education; and 25% in upper secondary education
  • 620 million children do not have access to single-sex toilets at school
  • In 2016, only 53%s in primary and secondary schools were equipped with handwashing facilities with soap and water, leaving an estimated 335 million girls without the basic materials needed to manage menstrual hygiene
  • Depending on the country, 10% to 30% of parents report that their children dropped out of secondary school because of marriage or pregnancy
  • Child marriage remains legal in at least 117 countries and territories; 15 million underage girls are married each year
  • An estimated 720 million women alive today were married before they were 18; that's 10% of the world population
  • About 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth; of these, 2 million are under 15
  • Unless the trend accelerates, it will take more than a century to eradicate early marriage for girls
  • In 2016, of the 773 million illiterate adults, 63% are women
  • Yet an extra year of schooling can increase a woman's income by 10 to 20%
  • In 2019, women are over-represented in vulnerable jobs and in the informal sector. They are now paid 23% less than men
  • At the current rate of progress, it will take 108 years to close the gender gap and 202 years to achieve parity in the world of work. Gender equality will not be achieved until 2234. That is more than two centuries of waiting.

Sources World Bank, World Economic Forum, Grils not Brides, OECD, UN Women, Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO


Association for Development through Education, Aide et Action has been providing access to quality education for the most vulnerable and marginalised populations, especially children, girls and women, for 40 years, so that they can control their own development and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world. Because we promote learning the protection and enhancement of the quality of life of our citizens. education of early childhood, to access and quality of education at primary and secondary levels, and than in vocational training and to integration social. By basing our intervention on the values of dignity, inclusion and integrity, as well as on the principles of of action transparency, accountability and solidarity, and thanks to the support of our 47,000 donors, we are running more than 70 projects in Africa, Asia, Europe - and especially France - for over of a million of childrenof young people and of adults


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