Ensuring that every girl has an education is now more vital than ever. Pre-pandemic, girls were already so far behind in access to education compared to boys, with two thirds of children out of school being girls. This has been worsened during 2020; vulnerable girls are even more at risk of not accessing education after Covid 19 than any other group.
‘Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all’ is Goal Four in the United Nations list of their 15 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals have been agreed upon by all United Nations Member States in 2015 and call for action by all countries, with an aim to have reached them by 2030. The goals stretch across topics such as climate change, economic growth and health, but it has been recognised that ending poverty must go hand in hand with strategies that focus on the improvement of education and inequalities. The 24th of October 2020, marks 75 years since the founding charter of the United Nations. The UN states “This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts. But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation.”
We know by educating a girl, you can change the world. Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go – 130 million girls around the world do not have access to an education. But when the focus shifts to ensuring schooling is accessible, the opportunities for positive change for the entire world broaden and grow. Achieving universal access to 12 years of fee-free, quality primary and secondary education for girls is an investment in the overall development and growth for countries. If you educate just one girl, the benefits are immeasurable. Not only is there an incredible impact upon her life – the health, wealth and happiness of her family increases and her job and wage potential increases – but this increases the entire socio-economic status of her community. If we educate all girls, the benefits are even further reaching: eradication of World Poverty becomes possible, childhood marriage would fall by 64% and gender equality would increase dramatically.
The world cannot hope to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) without unlocking the potential of millions of girls who are being denied an education. There can be no sustainable development without gender equality. #UNDay