Education is a right, but unfortunately not a reality, for many girls and young women around the world. Globally, 61 million children do not attend primary school, more than half of them girls. No society can ever achieve its full potential when half the population—girls and women—is denied the right to achieve theirs.
When young Malala Yousafzai was targeted and shot by the Taliban in Pakistan—simply for wanting to go to school—the world of global education was changed forever. Today, people are focusing on girls’ education advocacy and the important ideals that Malala and her father and her friends are fighting for: Girls should be able to attend school as a human right, free of fear and intimidation.
Girls’ education benefits everyone. When countries invest in girls’ education, they are investing in the well-being of the entire nation. Educated girls are more likely to earn better salaries, while helping lift their families and communities out of poverty. Children are less likely to be drawn into the dangers of child labor or human trafficking. Educated girls lead healthier lives. Education also can protect against violence; children who receive an education are less likely to inflict domestic violence or to suffer from it. They are more likely to become active in civil society, understand their rights and be a positive force for change.
Although progress in equality has been made, no country is yet entirely free from gender discrimination in education. Unequal opportunity, child labor, and violence against women and girls touch every nation. Girls’ education is a crucial tool for empowering women and for advancing economic and social development. With our advocacy on this key issue, we are advancing human rights for all.