For countries trying to improve their economies and pull their people out of poverty, there is no better investment than educating their youth, particularly girls. According to the World Bank, educating girls is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality, and laying a foundation for sustained economic growth.
Girls’ attendance in secondary school is correlated with later marriage, later childbearing, lower maternal and infant mortality rates, lower birth rates, and lower rates of HIV/AIDS. When a girl receives a quality education, she is more likely to earn a decent living, raise a healthy, educated family, and improve the quality of life for herself, her family, and her community.
Globally there are nearly as many girls as boys in school at the primary level. Yet in many areas of the world, there remains a gap in girls’ attendance and completion at the secondary level. To help adolescent girls globally attend and complete school, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama recently launched the “Let Girls Learn” initiative.
“Right now, 62 million girls who should be in school, are not. And that’s not an accident. It’s the direct result of barriers, large and small, that stand in the way of girls who want to learn,” said President Obama.
The United States has long advocated for education opportunity for girls and women everywhere. Building on our previous investments, the Let Girls Learn initiative will expand on existing programs to bring in governments as well as private and public partners and challenge them to commit resources to help adolescent girls complete their educations and achieve their broader aspirations.
“We’re making it clear to any country that’s our partner or wants to be our partner that they need to get serious about increasing the number of girls in school,” said President Obama.
“I want to make sure that no girl out there is denied her chance to be a strong, capable woman with the resources that she needs to succeed -- that no girl is prevented from making her unique contributions to the world. Every child is precious. Every girl is precious. Every girl deserves an education.”