“It’s about time someone said it. Being born female in one of the world’s poorest countries means your life will be harder, simply because of your gender. Unlocking the full potential of girls and women wouldn’t just transform their own lives, or even their families’ – it could help end extreme poverty for good”. – ONE.org
Today, October 11, is the International Day of the Girl, a day declared by the United Nations in 2011 to raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality around the world. It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere. Fast forward to today and the International Day of the Girl has become a global movement of hope, inspiration and advocacy to better the lives of half our planet who is being left behind.
Globally, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world and of that number, 130 million girls are currently not in school right now. This is a huge problem which has significant repercussions not only for girls but for the economy and well-being of society as a whole. Education is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against extreme poverty – so it’s unacceptable that so many girls are still denied the chance to learn.
ONE, a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than eight million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, fully understands the power of girls and the way education can be used as a conduit to better not only their lives but society as a whole. ONE is a strong advocate for the rights of women and girls around the world and in honor of this year’s International Day of the Girl, one has released a new report titled “The Toughest Places for a Girl to Get an Education”.
The report identities the ten toughest places in the world for a girl to get an education and has some tragic facts:
- The top ten toughest countries are all fragile states and among the poorest in the world.
- Nine out of ten toughest countries are in Africa.
- Poverty is sexist. Within the toughest 10 countries, girls are 57% more likely than boys to be out of school at the primary level and 83% at the secondary level.
- In the 10 toughest countries, half of the girls are married before their 18th birthday.
- In South Sudan, 73% of girls don’t go to primary school.
Yet there is so much hope. Educating girls can change the world. The ripple effect of educating one girl in a community is astounding. The math is simple and easy. So why aren’t more girls in school?