AFT Resolution

GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN'S EDUCATION

WHEREAS, girls and young women's education is valuable both in its own right and because it fuels development; creating incentives to support girls and young women's education catalyzes a range of positive outcomes; increasing girls and young women's education correlates with economic growth, greater labor productivity and better health outcomes; as noted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, investing in girls is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do; and

WHEREAS, the education of girls and young women is essential not only to promoting gender equality but also to addressing a large range of 21st-century challenges; the complex barriers keeping girls and young women out of school include conflict, poverty, geography, lack of personal safety, ethnic or religious discrimination, poor nutrition, school fees, lack of access to health facilities, some not wanting girls and young women to be taught by men, and parental choice giving priority to young boys; and

WHEREAS, worldwide, approximately 520 million women are illiterate, an estimated 63 million girls and young women between the ages of 6 and 15 are out of school, and enrollment of girls and young women in school decreases as they progress through the education system; for example, 75 percent of girls and young women enter primary school in Sub-Saharan Africa but only 8 percent finish secondary school; and

WHEREAS, the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Sustainable Development Goal 4) and to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and young women (Sustainable Development Goal 5); and

WHEREAS, the levels of achievement of women who become policymakers, entrepreneurs and community leaders are in direct correlation with their level of education; as they become educated, girls and young women become more empowered by acquiring the skills and confidence to make positive change in their communities; and

WHEREAS, educating girls and young women delivers broad gains to families, societies and economies; one additional year of school increases a woman's earnings by 10 to 20 percent; and girls and young women with secondary schooling increase future wages by 15 to 25 percent; and

WHEREAS, educated women make good choices for themselves and their families; educated mothers ensure their babies are vaccinated and receive proper nutrition, and they tend to have smaller, healthier and better-educated families; children of educated mothers are 50 percent more likely to live past age 5 and are more likely to attend school themselves:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, working within Education International and Public Services International, will promote girls and young women's education and skills training, including technical and vocational skills, as a strategic development priority in their global empowerment; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will inform and involve our members in advocating for the engagement of the U.S. government in achievement of the U.S. Sustainable Development Goals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT's legislative agenda will include support for U.S. foreign assistance to support the Sustainable Development Goals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will provide classroom materials to its members to inform U.S. students about the reasons why educating girls and young women is of critical importance, and what they can do to overcome gender barriers in their own lives.

(2016)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.