The UN has identified girls’ education, particularly at the secondary level, as a “powerful transformative force for societies.” Indeed, studies have repeatedly highlighted the value of girls’ education in developing nations, including reduced maternal mortality rates, more productive economic activity, and the decline of HIV/AIDS, among other benefits.
Various organizations worldwide are doing significant work towards improving girls’ education. One of these organizations is Techno Girls, a program based in South Africa that teaches girls skills in engineering and science, fields that are conventionally comprised of men. Commenting on how Techno Girls has changed her career goals, one participant said “I used to think that the Science and Technology field was only for men and that a woman’s place was meant to be predominantly in the kitchen. I have however learnt that as a woman I can also be able to live my dreams.”
There are multiple ways you can get involved this year to help promote girls’ education. For ready to use lesson plans, check out our website TeachBuzz. Lessons about Anne Frank, the American feminist movement, and women’s rights are great ways to get students excited about girls’ empowerment and gender equality.
You can also promote girls’ education by screening the 2013 documentary Girl Rising, a film that includes the stories of girls worldwide who fight to secure their education. In addition to providing copies of their documentary, the Girl Rising campaign provides lesson planning materials on its website.
Multiple events in the US and elsewhere will be taking place to celebrate International Day of the Girl. In New York City, the UN, in partnership with Working Group on Girls, will be hosting Day of the Girl Speak Out from 3:00-5:00pm, and will feature girl activists from around the world. The public is invited to register to attend or watch the streaming version that will be broadcast from Dayofthegirlsummit.org. In San Francisco and other locations, Emmy-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell will be screening sneak peaks of her new documentary that showcases the power of two Guatemalan girls to demand opportunities for women’s political participation. In Canada, the Didi Society will be hosting an event at the University of Victoria to support girls’ education while the government of Manitoba will have a special event featuring girls from around the province who have been identified as role models in their communities.
Regardless of whether you are an educator or not, you too can become involved in supporting girls’ education by donating to our campaign. One of our main missions at Open Equal Free is to make education available equally, to both boys and girls, throughout the developing world.
Creative Commons Love: Michael Foley on Flickr.comWritten by Stephanie Jimenez