The Girl Issue
The girl issue is real, and it’s affecting girls and women around the world – but what is it? Girls in the poorest regions of the world are among the most disadvantaged people on the planet. They are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be denied access to education, and more likely to be malnourished, simply because they are young and female. And yet, studies show that when you invest in girls, the whole world benefits. If a girl has enough to eat, a safe environment, and an education, she’ll work to raise the standard of living for herself, her family and her community. And in time, she can even strengthen the economy of her entire country.
Every girl has a right to an education, but close to 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and even more struggle to remain where they belong – in the classroom. Every day, girls are taken out of school, married far too young, and subjected to violence in school. And yet, it’s proven that with an education, girls can lift themselves – and everyone around them – out of poverty.
The facts on education for girls
For every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 15 to 25%
There is a 20% increase in child survival when household income is in a mother’s hands
If 10% more girls attend school, a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%
When a girl receives more education, she is 6X less likely to be married as a child and will have 2.2 fewer, yet healthier children who are more likely to go to school themselves
Each extra year of a mother’s schooling cuts infant mortality by between 5 and 10%
The facts are clear. When you empower a girl through education, she’ll change the world for everyone around her. But without an education, girls are more likely to marry young, have children early, and spend their life in poverty. Many barriers stand in the way of girls receiving the quality education they deserve. Most of these obstacles are unimaginable to people here in India, but to girls living in the developing
world, it’s a daily reality. These include:
Early and forced marriage
Poor health and nutrition
Family care and domestic housework
Violence in schools
The long distance to school
The cost of education
A lack of girls’ washrooms
How to get girls back in the classroom
Arunodaya Trust’s Because I am a Girl initiative works with communities to support girls’ education in the following ways:
Provide equal access to education by developing gender-sensitive learning environments for girls Educate boys and men about gender equality by engaging them in developing gender-sensitive learning environments for both boys and girls. Keep schools safe for girls by providing them with a safe learning environment, free of violence, abuse and bullying. Provide school feeding programs that keep girls’ stomachs full, their brains active and offer parents incentives to send their daughters to school. Give girls financial standing, independence and income through village savings and loans associations (VSLA), vocational training programs and girls’ scholarships.
Challenge gender roles through information sessions that raise awareness at home and in the community on the importance of girls’ education.