Investing in girls’ education is not only socially fair, but makes economic sense.
The World Bank estimates that failure to complete school costs countries more than $15 trillion in lost productivity and earnings.
In poorer countries, 132 million girls between the ages of six and seventeen are not being educated.
Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women.
Girls who drop out of school early have fewer chances to earn a better living and help their communities.
They’re more likely to marry and have children at a young age, putting them and their infants at greater risk of infection, illness, and death.
Around the world, 41,000 girls aged under 18 marry every day.
Those marrying before 18 are six times as likely to live in poverty in later life as those who do not.
In poor countries, improving the education of girls means building schools near their homes and hiring the right teachers.
Free schooling, transport, uniforms, and textbooks can also help.
In India, paying more money to teachers in rural schools who were confirmed as showing up for work sharply cut their absenteeism and increased students’ test scores.
The RISE programme in Ghana focuses on children who have never been in school or who have dropped out.
To help the girls, classes are held in the afternoons to fit in with household chores and farming.
In countries such as Tanzania, the charity Camfed targets the most disadvantaged girls in rural areas.
It offers bursaries, study guides, life skills, and social support to help pupils and keep them in school.
At current rates of improvement, it will take 170 years for the world to reach economic parity between the sexes.
Investing in girls’ education is good for them, for all school children, and makes economic and social sense for society as a whole.