The ripple effects of girls’ education are powerful - but still, 129 million girls are missing from schools, and millions more do not have access to quality education. Why? Explore the barriers to girls' education through some of our stories.
Every year, approximately 15 million girls are forced into early marriage, puting an end to their formal education and limiting their access to future opportunities. Forced marriage perpetuates cycles of poverty, gender roles and power dynamics, and also increases risks of violence and abuse.
Watch Amina’s story
Amina is constrained by Afghan society, confined by her gender and expected only to serve men. But this child bride has had enough. She is determined to reject the limitations prescribed by society and to lead others to do the same.
With higher levels of education girls are less likely to marry early.
Conflict and Displacement
Nearly half the world’s out of school girls are in crisis-affected countries with conflict and forced displacement. In times of crisis 70% of girls and women experience gender-based violence.
Watch Nasro’s story in Brave.
Filmed in one of the largest refugee camps in the world, Brave tells the story of how Nasro, inspired by the magical dreams of her mother and the sisterhood of her friends, succeeds in getting the education she deserves.
Of the 100s of millions of people displaced by climate disasters, 80% are women and girls. Disruption due to climate change-related disasters is forcing girls out of school and putting them at risk of violence and abuse.
For many families, the cost of school, supplies, uniforms, books and other educational resources is beyond their reach.
Watch Ruksana’s story in Kolkata, India, where her father has sacrificed everything to send his daughters to school.
Meet Dania in Mexico, a young entrepeneur on her path to economic independence. Dania's story is integrated into our programs in Ghana and Mexico building life skills including financial literacy among thousands of adolescents.
Child Labor and Trafficking
UNICEF estimates that 1 and 10 children have been driven into labor, usually because their families face financial challenges and uncertainty. Child labor can result in bodily or mental harm, and typically cuts off girls from health care and their education.
Meet Suma, who was forced into bonded labor at age 6, but fought for her freedom, and used her education to free other girls.
Around the world and in countries rich and poor, deep-seated gender norms prevent girls from achieving their aspirations and their full potential, and create barriers to their education. In some countries families expect their daughters to take care of the home and don’t prioritize their education. Many families still consider only their sons as the future breadwinners and therefore feel little motivation to educate girls.
Meet Azmera, who’s mother and brother are joining her and fighting the barriers to her future.
In many regions, societal norms prioritize boys' education over girls', resulting in fewer opportunities for girls to attend school. Gender discrimination can create hostile or unsafe environments for girls in schools. They may face sexual harassment, violence, or bullying, which can lead to decreased attendance, poor academic performance, and higher dropout rates.