Girls' Education

Secondary education for girls can transform communities, countries and our world.

It is an investment in economic growth, a healthier workforce, lasting peace and the future of our planet.

Why are more than 130 million girls out of school?

By age 17, Zaynab was a refugee of three wars — in Yemen, Somalia and Egypt — and had been out of school for two years.

War and violence drastically reduce opportunities for girls to continue their education. In areas of conflict, girls and women are the most vulnerable. Girls are 90% more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in areas without violence.

(Source: GEM Report, Policy Paper 21, June 2015, p.3)

When the day came for 14-year-old Najla to be married, she felt her dreams of finishing school slipping away. So she ran away from home — still in her wedding dress.

Child marriage often prevents girls from continuing their education and realising their full potential. 12 years of education for every girl would result in a 64% drop in child marriage. Secondary education also helps to prevent early pregnancy.

(Source: Rose, P. and Zubairi, A., (2016) Supporting primary and secondary education for refugees: the role of international financing, Malala Fund)

Like many girls in Nigeria, expensive school tuition fees put Amina’s education and future at risk.

The high cost of education prevents the most marginalised girls from getting an education. Eliminating school fees and offsetting indirect costs of girls' schooling has helped to increase enrolment and keep girls in school all over the world.

In Ecuador, Daniela graduated secondary school, becoming one of seven girls in her class with a high school diploma — and a child.

Uneducated girls are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy and other health complications. If all girls received 12 years of education, the frequency of early births would drop by 59% and child deaths would decrease by 49%.

(Source: Malala Fund (2016) Beyond Basics)

Zainab received twenty rupees per day stitching footballs, but she knew she could achieve more for herself and her family by finishing school.

In areas of the world where there are few restrictions on child labour, families often choose to send their daughters to work instead of school. Generally, secondary school graduates enjoy higher earning potential than early school leavers, contributing to the growth of the national economy and paying tax.

By age 17, Zaynab was a refugee of three wars — in Yemen, Somalia and Egypt — and had been out of school for two years.

War and violence drastically reduce opportunities for girls to continue their education. In areas of conflict, girls and women are the most vulnerable. Girls are 90% more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in areas without violence.

(Source: GEM Report, Policy Paper 21, June 2015, p.3)

When the day came for 14-year-old Najla to be married, she felt her dreams of finishing school slipping away. So she ran away from home — still in her wedding dress.

Child marriage often prevents girls from continuing their education and realising their full potential. 12 years of education for every girl would result in a 64% drop in child marriage. Secondary education also helps to prevent early pregnancy.

(Source: Rose, P. and Zubairi, A., (2016) Supporting primary and secondary education for refugees: the role of international financing, Malala Fund)

Like many girls in Nigeria, expensive school tuition fees put Amina’s education and future at risk.

The high cost of education prevents the most marginalised girls from getting an education. Eliminating school fees and offsetting indirect costs of girls' schooling has helped to increase enrolment and keep girls in school all over the world.

In Ecuador, Daniela graduated secondary school, becoming one of seven girls in her class with a high school diploma — and a child.

Uneducated girls are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy and other health complications. If all girls received 12 years of education, the frequency of early births would drop by 59% and child deaths would decrease by 49%.

(Source: Malala Fund (2016) Beyond Basics)

Zainab received twenty rupees per day stitching footballs, but she knew she could achieve more for herself and her family by finishing school.

In areas of the world where there are few restrictions on child labour, families often choose to send their daughters to work instead of school. Generally, secondary school graduates enjoy higher earning potential than early school leavers, contributing to the growth of the national economy and paying tax.

Evidence for investing in girls’ education

Girls’ education strengthens economies and creates jobs.

When women are educated, there are more jobs for everyone. If all girls went to school for 12 years, low and middle income countries could add $92 billion per year to their economies.

Educated girls are healthier citizens who raise healthier families.

Educated girls are less likely to marry young or contract HIV  —  and more likely to have healthy, educated children. Each additional year of school a girl completes cuts both infant mortality and child marriage rates.

Communities are more stable — and can recover faster after conflict — when girls are educated.

When a country gives all its children secondary education, they cut their risk of war in half. Education is vital for security around the world because extremism grows alongside inequality.

Investing in girls’ education is good for our planet.

The Brookings Institution calls secondary schooling for girls the most cost-effective and best investment against climate change. Research also suggests that girls’ education reduces a country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

Resources

Learn more about Malala Fund's work through our research and policy papers.

Financing the Future Safer, Healthier, Wealthier Yes All Girls Not Lost Beyond Basics What Works in Girls' Education

Get involved in our work

Learn more about Malala’s Girl Power Trip and sign up for exclusive updates about her travels to meet girls and fight for their education.

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