Across the globe, young girls face innumerable challenges when it comes to education. Girls are four times as likely to be out of school than boys from the same background and, in 2016, an estimated 61 million girls were not receiving an education at all. Educated girls are less likely to be forced into child marriage, can increase a country’s economy by over $1 billion a year, are more equipped to take on local and national leadership roles, and are simply able to exercise greater autonomy over their lives.
Over the last decade, the girls’ education community has grown in scope, size, and funding. A recent report from UNESCO found that the number of girls enrolled in both primary and secondary education is now the same number of boys. And then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, disrupting the education of girls, pulling many out of school to care for sick family members or to join the workforce. All of these responsibilities keep girls away from school, increasing their chances of pregnancy or becoming a child bride. On top of this, many schools remain closed and travel restrictions bar young girls from accessing “safe spaces” like after-school programs or health services.
We know educating girls saves lives, and builds stronger families, communities and economies. What is global impact of the health crisis on girls’ education and on their well-being? How are current efforts being adapted to life in a pandemic to ensure girls have access to quality education and achieve their full potential in life and livelihood?
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