In 2018, 129 million girls were out of school. Even though their educational situation tends to improve in the world, it is still far from right! The International Day of the Girl, celebrated on October 11, is an opportunity to address the kinds of discrimination girls still face and offer ways and to combat them.
Access to education is one area where girls fall victim to discrimination. Parity in schooling has been achieved by only two out of three countries in primary education, one in two in lower secondary education and one in four in upper secondary education. Although, since the year 2000, great progress has been made to stimulate the enrollment of girls in school, it is estimated that in the world, they are 129 million, aged 6 to 17, not to be educated.
Multiple obstacles stand in the way of girls’ inclusion in education such as the weight of cultural norms and practices, gender-based violence and early or forced marriage However, providing girls with access to school and ensuring that they can learn in a safe and supportive environment has many benefits not only for girls themselves, but also their families, communities and countries.
Breaking the barriers
This year’s International Day of the Girl is under the theme “GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable » and aims to help girls to make their voices heard as well as defend their rights. We now know that investments in girls’ secondary education, not just in primary education, have a positive impact not only on families and their communities, but also on the economy.[In fact, according to The Global Partnership for Education, a one percentage point increase in female education raises the average gross domestic product (GDP) of a country by 0.3 percentage points and raises annual GDP growth rates by 0.2 percentage points
Here at Aide et Action, we contend that education is the best weapon to fight injustices and break down the barriers of stereotypes and exclusion that affect girls and women. Girl-friendly school projects, literacy classes for women who have missed out on education and community awareness of girls’ education are make up some of the varied approaches we use to reduce gender disparities in primary and secondary education.
UNESCO recalls: » Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, political leaders and mothers. An investment in realising the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability. «