According to the United Nations (pdf), two out of three countries in the world face gender disparities in primary and secondary education. Although the rate worldwide of children not in school has dropped from 100 million in 1999 to 75 million in 2006, girls represent 55% of those not enrolled in school in 2010. This disparity is worse in many countries, such as Benin, India, Iraq and Yemen.
Over 24 years, the Global Fund for Women has
- Supported initiatives addressing the structural issues that prevent women and girls from receiving an education.
- Invested in women-led organizations that provide skills and knowledge-building activities to girls and women often excluded from the educational system including widows, school drop-outs, teenage mothers, sex workers, and orphans, HIV positive girls and women, and girls and women with disabilities.
For 25 years, GFW has seen how educated women and girls step up to lead in their families, communities, and countries. We’ve seen how their education influences their confidence as they become empowered and improve everyone’s health, welfare and security.
Slowly but surely, valuing women’s education is also now shared by governments, corporations, and multilateral agencies. Major studies have found that when girls and women are educated, child mortality drops by 10 percent and the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS drops by half. Educating girls results in their delayed marriage and child-bearing, greater use of family planning methods, higher child and maternal survival rates, reduced vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection, increased labor participation by women, and enhanced benefits to children.
We have a holistic view of what constitutes education. We believe education can happen formally and informally, in religious or secular settings, and can be practical or academic. We believe that education can and should happen during a woman’s entire life. We promote a world where one’s gender doesn’t limit their access to education and support women’s groups working to break down economic, legal, political or cultural barriers impeding women’s learning.
Worldwide, women’s movements are investing in education as a way to reduce gender inequalities and discrimination against women. Women’s groups run non-formal education and training programs as a strategy toward developing confidence, leadership and self-sufficiency. The result: previously excluded women and groups are motivating themselves to improve and transform their situation.
GFW support has enabled millions of women to participate in thousands of empowerment and skills-building training programs intended to increase women’s understanding of the underlying causes of their oppression, subordination and powerlessness; examine and confront their disadvantaged position; and gain control over their lives by transforming their relationships with men and social structures. Here are some of their approaches »
- Ensure access to schools, particularly for girls, and that schools are girl-friendly, free from harassment, and with sufficient resources.
- Advocate for the placement of schools within easy and safe access to girls living in remote areas.
- Advocate for access to quality, free primary and secondary education.
Literacy programs for adult women and girls who drop out of school
Non-formal school, alternative educational programs:
- Courses and drop-in centers offering classes on life skills.
- After school programs for young women.
- Science and computer literacy.
- Financial literacy.
- Debate clubs.
- Summer camps.
Women in higher education
- Access to tertiary, university, and graduate programs.
- Access to and capacity to succeed in non-traditional fields.
Women in Academia and Feminist Publications
- Access to publishing houses, academic advances, promotion in universities, benefits and protections to teachers/professors.
- Establishment of gender studies programs.
Educational System Reform
- Ensure that school and university curriculums, as well as teachers, are gender-sensitive and inclusive.
- Ensure that school budgets reflect the importance of girls’ education and the promotion of a human rights culture.
- Support curriculum and classroom interaction that builds girls’ leadership and self-confidence.
- Ensure there is no hidden curriculum that disenfranchises girls over boys, or those of marginalized populations.
Human Right to Education
- Advocacy on educational policies and budgetary allocations and against discriminatory practices.
- Campaigns to promote the importance of girls’ education as a fundamental human right.
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