Education improves the lives of both boys and girls and promotes development. But too often, girls are denied the opportunity to learn, and in many countries, they are still subject to practices that harm them. Today, worldwide, some 60 million girls do not attend school.
Equitable treatment of women and girls is a fundamental, core value of the Administration of President Barack Obama. Under President Obama, the United States Government has introduced a number of programs and initiatives to help women rise: programs such as TechWomen, Equal Futures Partnership, WEAmericas, PEPFAR’s DREAMS initiative and Let Girls Learn.
In mid-March, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls initiative.
The initiative focuses on three important areas, said Secretary of State Kerry:
"First, we’re going to work to promote laws and policies abroad that empower adolescent girls and protect their rights. One of the most effective ways to meet this goal is to make certain that every single young woman has the ability to go to school, and to receive a quality education in a safe environment.”
Second, he said, we will work toward ending early and forced marriage, a practice that too often prevents girls from developing their social and economic potential.
And finally, we will collaborate with government officials, NGOs, and community and religious leaders in order to end female genital mutilation, a practice that has no health benefit, and no centrality to any religion.
“We want to build on all of the steps that have been taken thus far in order to intensify our efforts to empower young women at the pivotal stage between childhood and maturity,” said Secretary of State Kerry.
The Secretary also announced $47 million for intiatives that will improve the lives and futures of adolescent girls by focusing on health, education, and ending harmful practices.
Girls can have that better life, and they should be given every opportunity to pursue it and to make their own choices about their own future, he said.
“[The United States is] going to do everything in our power to make certain that we can translate this all-important but simple promise into a reality. And that is a fight worth fighting.”