Top 10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Egypt
Education is one of the quickest ways for development and equality to happen in a society. Egypt is one of many countries that recognizes the importance of education in general and specifically, girls education.

The country has already made great strides towards equal educational opportunities for girls and progress only continues. In the article below, top 10 facts about girls’ education in Egypt and the implemented plans for development in the country are presented.

Top 10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Egypt

  1. There is a clear gender gap in Egypt’s education. Studies show that 64 percent of Egyptian girls and women above the age of 9 cannot read. The Egyptian government is doing everything to change this statistic by revamping the entire education system. Great plans for new education reforms and eliminating illiteracy entirely are established.
  2. In support of girls’ education in Egypt, the Ministry of Local Development plans to end illiteracy in just three years, starting in June 2018. The plan focuses on getting girls into safe and clean school early as early as possible.
  3. Egypt is completely redesigning their education system to reach girls.  However, Egypt is focusing on providing an inclusive and quality education for anyone who seeks it, regardless of gender. This goal is perfectly expressed in Egypt Education Reform Project.
  4. The new reform focuses on primary and secondary schooling and rejects superficial approaches to learning, instead of promoting the development of important life skills such as problem-solving abilities. The Minister of Education in Egypt, Dr. Tarek Shawki, explained that the goals of the education system are teaching real-world knowledge and self-understanding. Children will be learning life skills as well as self-reflection.
  5. In support of girls’ education in Egypt, The World Bank is investing $500 million to improve access to quality primary and secondary education. This funding aims to upgrade classrooms and technology, allowing for around 500,000 children to start their education as early as in kindergarten by 2023. This funding will also allow for continued professional development for teachers and supervising staff.
  6. In 2000, the literacy rate for boys aged 15 to 24 was 80 percent and 64 percent for girls of the same age. In 2017, however, the literacy rate increased to 94 percent for boys and 92 percent for girls.
  7. The World Education’s integrated literacy initiative uses health information to teach women to read. The project, funded by the Ford Foundation, teaches women and girls how to read with books on women’s health, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, breastfeeding, and health care for infants and new mothers. This program was so successful it is now standard in Egypt’s adult literacy programs.
  8. Educated women encourage more girls to go to school. One woman explained that once she began her education, her daughter, who was illiterate and had received no prior schooling, felt encouraged to begin literacy training. Girls will learn from their mothers and the women around them that education and empowerment are intertwined.
  9. Many girls are denied the right to an education because they are pushed by their parents and communities into getting married. New education opportunities and developments reject the idea that married women cannot be educated and emphasize that girls’ education in Egypt is key to development and growth.
  10. Investing in women’s education will promote rapid development in Egypt. In school, girls can learn about healthy choices and civic duties, alongside new technology and media. Women will know how to keep records, manage loans and handle other financing programs, allowing for growth in Egypt’s business and economy. This can be done with the help of U.N. Women and other organizations as well. According to the IMF, raising the female labor force participation rate to the male level, coupled with access to employment opportunities, would increase GDP by approximately 34 percent.

Egypt is a great example of how less developed countries can and should be committed to giving girls quality education. Great progress has been made in the country, as presented in the top 10 facts above, but there is room for more improvements.

A great way to stay involved with girls’ education in Egypt and across the world is to support Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act. Contacting U.S. state and national representatives to support this bill ensures that girls’ access to education only continues to improve.

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Ecuador
Ecuador, a small country in South America, known for its impressive ecological diversity, has made great strides in improving education access for Ecuadorian girls in the past few years.

Still, there are several barriers that prevent many Ecuadorian girls to finish secondary school or make them quit school even earlier.

The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Ecuador presented below are exploring the root causes of this issue, as well as the recent leaps towards progress.

10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Ecuador

  1. Thirty-one percent of adolescent women in Ecuador do not graduate from secondary school. In indigenous populations, this number is even higher and stands at 44 percent. In Afro-Ecuadorian groups, this number is 42 percent and in the Montubio population, 33 percent. Plan International Ecuador offers scholarships to young women to continue their education, as well as classes to teach parents the importance of their daughters’ education.
  2. In recent years, an estimated 149,572 girls aged from 5 to 17 (about  1 percent of the total population) do not attend school because they are doing domestic work instead. This issue also affects different ethnic groups disproportionately since 13 percent of Montubio girls, 15 percent of Afro-Ecuadorian and 17 percent of indigenous girls are missing school due to domestic work.
  3. Some Ecuadorian families take part in a practice that offers their girls food, lodging or other necessities in exchange for doing domestic work. Cultural and familial expectations prevent the girls from having a choice. In years prior to 2009, The Social Observatory estimated that 718 girls did not attend school because they were doing unpaid domestic work as a part of this type of transaction.
  4. In 2009, 2,083 girls aged 10 to 14 gave birth, while 60,623 births were recorded with mothers aged from 15 to 19. Due to strict legal restrictions on abortions, girls who become pregnant must either give birth or undergo illegal abortions, and the cultural expectation of mothers to assume the majority of parental responsibilities puts young mothers in a position where they are unable to continue their education.
  5. Twenty-two percent of girls in Ecuador are married before they turn 18, despite a Civil Code reform enacted in 2015 that raised the legal age of marriage for girls from 12 to 18. Underaged brides often engage in domestic chores and other marital duties, including premature parenthood, in place of continuing their education. In 2017, two nongovernmental organizations, Let Girls Rise and Girls Not Brides partnered and enacted a plan to advocate for legislative, cultural and social reform to further prevent the marriage of underage girls.
  6. Sexual violence against girls often occurs in schools. In a study conducted by Plan Internacional, it was founded that girls are often sexually abused by their teachers and older students. Ecuador’s education minister has acknowledged the prevalence of sexual violence in schools and the need to combat this issue.
  7. The problems tend to affect women and girls in rural areas more than those who live in urban areas. Fourteen percent of women in rural areas are illiterate, in comparison to 5 percent in inner cities. Rural girls attend school for an average of 7.1 years as opposed to urban girls, who attend school for an average of 10.9 years. In addition to domestic work, rural Ecuadorian women tend to do agricultural work as well. Many rural women are indigenous and face a higher rate of domestic violence.
  8. A staggering 78 percent of Ecuadorian girls are subjected to some form of abuse at home. This discourages girls from attending school by affecting their overall emotional well-being and sense of self-worth. Progressive legislative changes in the past few decades, including the Law against Violence toward Women and the Family (1995) and the rewriting of the constitution in 1998 to include Ecuadorian women’s equal rights in several sections, have been made.
  9. Approximately 2 percent of girls and 4 percent of boys are not enrolled in primary school. Almost 92 percent of girls and 94 percent of boys above the age of 15 are literate. In 2014, nearly 74 percent of girls in Ecuador completed their primary education. In 2015, nearly 42 percent of girls completed secondary school.
  10. There are several nongovernment initiatives working to improve conditions for girls in Ecuador. WE is an organization that contributes to improving girls’ by creating and running girls’ clubs, improving access to water and building and rehabilitating schools in rural areas. Plan International Ecuador hosts workshops for girls that encourages them to envision successful futures for themselves and begin to consider career plans. CENIT is a nonprofit organization that was founded to improve conditions and decrease abuse of girls working in Ecuador and continues to provide integrated educational, vocational, health, social and psychological services.

These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Ecuador highlight the obstacles that stand between Ecuadorian girls and their education in order to contribute to restructuring oppressive legal and cultural systems that have allowed this problem to persist.

While some of this information can be disheartening, all signs are pointing towards progress for girls and adolescent women Ecuador.

Knowing and sharing these top 10 facts about girls’ education in Ecuador will help increase awareness of these complex issues, as well as the large number of legislators, humanitarian organizations and collective initiatives on the ground that are all paving the way for a future where all Ecuadorian girls will have access to the education and quality of life that they deserve.

– Shannon Mullery
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Myanmar
In an interview with UNICEF Myanmar, one father, living in the impoverished Rakhine state of Myanmar, stated that his main hope for his daughter’s future is that she gets a good education.

Even as considerable progress is made by the government and humanitarian organizations, girls’ education in Myanmar continues to persist as a problem plaguing the millions of girls entrapped in the cycle of poverty. However, this is a problem that can and hopefully will be solved.

In the text below, top 10 facts about girls’ education in Myanmar are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Myanmar

  1. Education is a constitutional guarantee in Myanmar, which is a clear sign of the government’s support for this issue. Thus, any girl who wants to attend school has the legal right to do so.
  2. While schools are technically free from fees, a myriad of hidden costs such as uniforms, supplies and even transportation can prove to be an inhibiting factor in a girl’s ability to attend school. Many girls are forced to help their families in the workforce rather than go to school, earning money and helping immediately instead of investing it in their education.
  3. The majority of girls in Myanmar attend primary school. As USAID survey has shown, 77 percent of girls were reportedly enrolled in primary school in 2000, in comparison to boys at 78 percent. Although there is no gender gap regarding primary school enrollment, there is a gap in secondary school enrollment: most girls drop out, either by choice or the constraints of poverty. This trend is further illustrated by the fact, reported by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, that roughly 1.7 million girls over the age of 15 are illiterate in the country.
  4. Girls’ education in Myanmar is complicated by the fact that there are 135 ethnic minority groups within the country. Thus, inequities exist between the accessibility of education for girls of different ethnic backgrounds. For example, the recent outbreak of violence against the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority has caused 727,000 people to flee to Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp in Bangladesh. Given the limited resources in refugee camps, young Rohingya girls face an uphill battle in receiving an education while displaced.
  5. Many young boys in Myanmar have been mobilized as allies in the fight for girls’ education. In interviews conducted by UNESCO Bangkok in partnership with the Myanmar Literary Resource Centre, young boys living in and around the city Yangon were brought to tears discussing the plights their female counterparts face. One boy, Htun, declared, “If girls are happy and have access to basic rights like education, they can find better work, do more and earn more. Everyone will be happier, right?”
  6. Many geographical constraints prevent girls from attending schools. In addressing this issue, within the past three years, the government has started developing an informal education office to aid and support informal education measures, such as religious-based schools or certificate programs. This new office is entitled as the Department of Alternative Education.
  7. UNICEF is one of the largest supporters of informal schools, recognizing the power of girls’ education to combat poverty in some of the poorest states of Myanmar. This organization has built schools and programs around the country. One of the examples is the work in the Yangon region.
  8. Nonprofit organization GirlDetermined has taken an innovative approach by specifically targeting young girls’ potentials as future leaders. By engaging them in workshops all over Myanmar, they are mobilizing a new generation of girls who do not only have the capacity to lead but the belief that they can as well.
  9. Making room for girls in schools ensures they have a safe space, helping prevent sexual assault and harassment. The United Nations Population Fund realized the correlation between these two issues, so on November 25, 2015 (the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women), they launched a campaign across girls’ and women’s centers in Myanmar, posing the question: “Everyone benefits from girls’ education. How have you?”
  10. Educated girls from Myanmar are changing the country. As reported by The Guardian, a group of girls who participated in GirlDetermined’s education and empowerment workshops took their skills to the streets, crafting and publishing a statement on the lack of female representation in Myanmar’s parliament. Their actions created a ripple effect, leading to other women’s groups to call for more women in the country’s politics as well.

Girls’ education in Myanmar sits at the intersection of pressing global issues, namely poverty and sexual assault.

Empowering girls through education will not only improve the futures of the girls themselves but the future of Myanmar’s economic and political standing in the global system as well.

– Miranda Wolford

Photo: Pixabay