A ground-breaking report by policy and advocacy organisation ONE Campaign has revealed the toughest places for a girl to get an education. Out of the ten toughest countries they’ve identified, nine of them are in Africa and all of them are among the poorest in the world.
The list includes South Sudan, Central African Republic, Niger, Afghanistan, Chad, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Ethiopia. With over 50 million girls out of school in Africa, we’re losing over 50 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs and politicians whose leadership the world is missing. It’s a crisis that perpetuates poverty. The report also highlights some of the unique social and cultural barriers that girls face: In Ethiopia, 2 in every 5 girls marry before their 18th birthday, and nearly 1 in 5 marries before age 15. In South Sudan, 73% of girls don’t go to primary school.
Within the toughest ten countries, girls are 57% more likely than boys to be out of primary school, from about ages 6–11. The disparity only gets worse as girls get older. The gaps increases to 83% at upper secondary school level. On a global level, addressing the gender gap in education could yield between $112 billion (over 1522 billion rand) and $152 billion (over 2066 billion rand) a year in developing countries.
What does all this tell us? It confirms that poverty is sexist.
Today is the International Day of the Girl. If you’d like to make your voice heard for #FreedomForGirls, watch and share the powerful video below, featuring ‘Freedom’ by Beyoncé and calling for action on some of the biggest challenges faced by girls such as access to education, gender-based violence and child marriage: