child smiling holding a book

International Day of the Girl

This International Day of the Girl, let's make sure we keep girls in school!

Did you know globally 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are out of school? Empowering young girls through education is an investment in economic growth and security, future healthy workforce, and positive health outcomes.  Unfortunately, there are several barriers such as child marriage, harassment, social discrimination and violence that prevent young women from receiving quality education. Activists like Payal Jangid who escaped child marriage and Zuriel Oduwole who started her own organization, Her Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up (DUSUSU), are among the many inspiring young women fighting to keep girls in school.

UNICEF USA supporters like UNICEF UNITE NYC Community Lead Dara Udo are joining the movement and advocating for girl’s education. When asked why empowering girls education is important to her as a UNICEF USA supporter and advocate Dara stated, “Imagine this world with only a percentage of your mother, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, colleague, and friend. This is the result when girls do not have access to education and therefore to not reach their full potential. Throughout the world, data and many indicators reveal that educating girls leads to not only the physical, emotional and economic prosperity of the girl, but also that of her community and beyond. Why, then, would we not do everything within our power to support her actualizing her whole self?”

For many of us, receiving a quality education has been a great privilege allowing us to thrive and contribute to our local communities. It is up to us as a collective to fight for the right to an education for others. “To me, education is the beginning of building confidence. Formal education is important because it teaches a person in the subject of their focus to be a person of potential. Education is a way for women to connect with their deeper self and it is a gift they can continue giving others in their world.  If one has money, they can run out of money to give but if one has education, they will never run out of giving.  Having educated girls and women is sure an investment and a promise for a community that they will grow to be nation or a community of potential. Education is a basic human right.” — Rebecca Deng, author of What They Meant for Evil: How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace, and Purpose in the Midst of Suffering

Congress has proposed bipartisan legislation, The Keeping Girls in School Act (H.R. 2153 / S.1071), to address these barriers through smart investments and coordination between U.S. Government agencies. This legislation complements and builds on existing guidance and legislation on education and child marriage in U.S. foreign policy and programmatic efforts, codifying the U.S. global strategy to empower adolescent girls. To help make education a reality for girls, we encourage you to reach out to your legislators and urge them to become a cosponsor and support The Keeping Girls in School Act.

© UNICEF/UN0319220/