Globally, 62 million girls are not enrolled in school, half of whom are adolescents. In addition, girls with access to “a basic education are three times less likely to contract HIV.” Those in the fight against global poverty are willing to invest in education for empowering young girls because of the incredible benefits it reaps.
On March 15, 2016, the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls was launched by Secretary Kerry. According to the U.S. Department of State Official Blog, “Investing in girls’ education is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing.”
In September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by 193 nations. They seek to achieve these goals by 2030. The investment in girls’ education supports the targets of quality education, gender equality, suitable work opportunities and good health.
The DREAMS Innovation Challenge is an organization that is offering $85 million for innovative approaches to reduce HIV infections in young girls in sub-Saharan Africa.
Part of achieving an AIDS-free generation is empowering young girls through education. DREAMS has partnered with PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief) to address the social isolation, economic disadvantage, discriminatory cultural norms, orphanhood and gender-based bias that prevents adolescent girls from attending or remaining in school.
Similarly, Let Girls Learn, a United States initiative to ensure girls receive an education, recognizes that keeping girls in school can transform their families, communities and countries. Societies with educated women are healthier and stronger because more of the population has the skills, expertise and self-assurance to lift themselves out of poverty.
Providing adequate resources and opportunities for empowering young girls to pursue their dreams facilitates global development, security and prosperity. The gender and age of children should not be seen as setbacks. Rather, they are key factors in a society’s ability to grow socially and economically.
As stated in the Executive Summary of the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, “While adolescence is a time of great vulnerability for girls, it is also an ideal point to leverage development and diplomacy efforts. It is an opportunity to disrupt poverty from becoming a permanent condition that is passed from one generation to the next.”
– Emily Ednoff