Girls’ education

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Education gives people the best chance to fulfil their potential in life and determine their own futures. This brings huge benefits not just for the individual, but for their children and entire communities and countries.

Despite significant progress on access to education in recent years, girls and young women are less likely to finish school than boys and young men. This is particularly true for women and girls living in poverty or with disabilities.

Millions of girls remain out of school due to multiple, intersecting barriers. These include social norms that prioritise boys’ education and make girls responsible for care work at home and, violence on the way to or in school.

Without education, girls are less likely to have control over their own income and more likely to face early and forced marriage and intimate partner violence.

GADN Resources

Explore GADN resources and learn more about girls’ education.

GADN Working Group

The Girls’ Education in International Development Working Group enables practitioners, academics and other partners to discuss the latest research, programmes and policies on girls’ education. The Group work together to conduct, synthesize and dissem

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The challenge

Gender Barriers

Structural inequality within families and communities prevent and limit girls’ education; these include traditional attitudes about women’s role as caregivers, and expectations of early marriage and pregnancy.

For girls who do go to school, the quality of education is often poor because class sizes are large, schools lack basic equipment and teachers are under-qualified. Gender-biased or gender-blind policies, exacerbate the problem - such as a lack of clean water, gender-segregated latrines and sanitary facilities. It is made worse by a shortage or absence of female teachers as role models.

These barriers are so persistent that many girls who do enrol, fail to progress from primary to secondary school. At a secondary and higher education level, the gender gap widens, particularly in subjects traditionally seen as masculine such as science and maths. At university level, women who do enrol often don’t pursue higher-level degrees.

Education is essential for women to attain equality, and has a significant multiplier effect. Educated girls and women tend to be healthier, earn more income and are more likely to access healthcare services.

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Relevant Websites

Other GADN Issues

📷 Girls discuss reading and books

GADN Coordinator