Every child has a right to go to school but in many of the poorest countries girls are denied this right more often than boys. Organisations such as ONE have a long record of campaigning on this extremely important issues. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the steps that have been taken to get more girls into school and on what progress there is still to make.
Despite some improvement in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education across the globe. It is deeply concerning that around the world there are 32 million girls of primary school age and 98 million girls of secondary school age still out of school.
It is a personal tragedy for every woman and girl who is undervalued and denied an education. It is also a shared tragedy for the communities and economies which miss out on such a vast array of their own talent. Girls’ education is not only an intrinsic right but it is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty.
There is no policy for development more effective than empowering women. I would like to see investment in education continue to be prioritised in the UK’s aid strategy and I will continue to support efforts to encourage more to be done to ensure that every girl around the world gets the education she deserves.