In Global Education: Leave No One Behind published on Devex, Laura Henderson, director of education policy at Women Thrive Worldwide notes the impressive progress that has been made to educate more children. At the same time, she draws attention to the cultural biases and customs that too often stand in the way of girls’ education.
“The reality is, while the original MDG on education has been wildly successful in increasing the number of students in classrooms, it was too narrowly designed. Gross disparities persist in how effectively classrooms actually teach students and help them learn life skills. In part, that’s because when the United Nations and other decision makers were designing the original MDGS, civil society and local experts who have the best understanding of their communities’ educational needs and challenges were all but left out of the process.
Girls, especially, have lost out as a result.
Many parents and educators recognize the extra obstacles that girls and marginalized populations like children with disabilities face — everything from stigmas about which children are worthy of an education to gender discrimination that often completely excludes children from school.
It’s hard, for example, to improve education for all girls when you aren’t also addressing child marriage, a traditional practice in many places that takes girls away from school. Millions of the poorest, most vulnerable girls are either not in school or will drop out early, despite the fact that research shows that girls’ education boosts economic growth and improves the health and well-being of families and communities.”
The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is proud that many Sauvé Fellows are working to improve opportunities for girls – and boys – to be educated. We look forward to publishing news of their achievements.