The Facts

It is known that the education and development of girls creates an upward spiral that lasts beyond their lifetime, breaking the cycle of poverty for their families, communities, and the global community. Yet the movement to help girls in developing countries is slow. Here are some staggering facts we hope will motivate you to help this crucially important worldwide cause.

Photo by LitWorld

  • Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, and yet earn only 10% of the world’s income.
  • Education is a human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • 113 million children of primary school age are still not enrolled in school, 94% of which live in developing countries.
  • Over the past three decades, the ratio of girls to boys enrolled in school has risen at all levels. Still, major gaps remain between boys and girls. In Africa and South Asia for example, boys remain 1.55 times more likely to complete secondary education than girls.
  • Girls who complete primary and secondary education are likely to earn income, have fewer unwanted pregnancies and break the cycle of poverty.
  • An educated woman has the skills, information and self-confidence that she needs to be a better parent, worker and citizen.
  • An educated woman is likely to marry at a later age and have fewer children. Cross-country studies show that an extra year of schooling for girls reduces fertility rates by 5 to 10 percent.
  • The children of an educated mother are more likely to survive. In India, for example, the infant mortality rate of babies whose mothers have received primary education is half that of children whose mothers are illiterate.
  • An educated woman will also be more productive at work and better paid.
  • The dividend for educational investment is often higher for women than men. Studies from a number of countries suggest that an extra year of schooling will increase a woman’s future earnings by about 15%, compared with 11% for a man.
  • Education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for women. It is also an area that offers some of the clearest examples of discrimination women suffer. Among children not attending school, there are twice as many girls as boys, and among illiterate adults there are twice as many women as men.
  • Offering girls basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power — of enabling them to make genuine choices over the kinds of lives they wish to lead. This is not a luxury! The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women establish it as a basic human right.