Economics, cultural bias and gender discrimination often exclude girls from educational opportunities in the developing world. Yet, it is widely acknowledged that educating girls is the most powerful and effective way to address global poverty—and the single best investment one can make.
More than 180 national governments have pledged to achieve gender equality in education by 2015—with special focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to, and achievement in high quality, basic education (UNESCO, 2000).
When girls learn, their families, communities and societies all benefit. Educating girls is directly linked to positive outcomes, including: Lower infant mortality rates Increased eventual wages Increased likelihood of educating the next generation Improved family health Success in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases Improvement of general economic development
Despite these known benefits, girls are less likely than boys to attend school; and those girls fortunate enough to enroll are likely to drop out when transitioning from primary to secondary school.