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Girls Opportunity Alliance

Young women with medium skin tones sit at a row of desks with their heads looking down. They wear the same blue and green-striped jacket and a green wall is behind them.

Get the Facts

In too many places around the world, girls are unable to reach their full potential

1. Nearly 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. This has a significant impact on the welfare of their families, communities, and countries.

2. In conflict zones, the challenges are even greater. Commutes to and from school can be dangerous, so sometimes it’s not safe for girls to attend school in the first place. Adolescent girls can face sexual harassment and assault at school.

3. Sometimes the issue is resources: families simply can’t afford the school fees; or the nearest school is hours away.

But often, the root of the problem is about attitudes and beliefs about girls.

4. In some parts of the world, when girls hit adolescence they are expected to assume full-time responsibilities in the home or get married and start families of their own.

5. Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That’s 23 girls every minute.

6. Girls under 15 years old spend 40%—or 160 million hours—more than boys their age on household chores every day globally.

7. Shame and stigma around menstruation can prevent adolescent girls around the world from attending school. When schools do not have adequate bathroom facilities, adolescent girls are forced to stay home during their menstrual cycles—and they can wind up falling behind and dropping out.

Barriers to adolescent girls’ education have real consequences

8. Of the world’s 750 million illiterate adults, two thirds are women.

9. When countries don’t educate girls, they leave a lot of money on the table. The World Bank reports that limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion dollars in lost lifetime productivity and earnings.

When girls are educated, they lift up their families, their communities, and their countries

10. 420 million people would be lifted out of poverty by achieving a secondary education. This would cut the number of people living in poverty by more than half.

11. The World Bank reports that universal secondary education for girls could virtually eliminate child marriage. Each year of secondary education reduces the likelihood of marrying as a child by five percentage points or more.

12. Educated girls have lower rates of infant and maternal mortality and are more likely to immunize their children. They are also less likely to contract malaria and HIV.

13. Studies show that educated girls earn higher salaries—10 to 20 percent more for each additional year of secondary school. On average, women with secondary school education earn almost twice as much as those with no education at all.

14. Sending more girls to school and into the workforce can boost a whole nation’s economy.

A world where every girl can go to school would be a better world for everyone. Every single one of us can do our part to make that world a reality.


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