March 9, 2015

We Must Stand Up for Out-of-School Girls

Written by By Kolleen Bouchane, Director, Policy and Advocacy, A World at School

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post here.

With marches, meetings, speeches and articles around the world, we celebrate and reflect today on the achievement of women around the world as we celebrate International Women’s Day. It gives us a chance to focus briefly on how far we’ve come in achieving gender equality in all aspects of life. We also must reflect on how far we have to go.

Women’s equality — as any woman anywhere will tell you — will never be achieved as long as girls are subject to the threats, abuse and marginalization that still happens in many places around the world. In poverty, when parents are left with only bad options (such as to marry off one daughter to prevent the rest of the family from starving) it is not an easy life for boys either. Yet the evidence shows that girls are more likely to lack protection from child marriage, child trafficking, sexual abuse and other forms of violence and more likely to be kept out of school, despite the evidence of the great protective powers of every single year of education.

World leaders continue to deliver passionate rhetoric on the importance of education for all children, especially for girls and the most marginalized. We’ve not only agreed as a world that access to a free primary education is a human right, we promised in 2000 with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to achieve this by 2015.

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