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eJournal USA: Educating Women and Girls

30 June 2011

Education is crucial to a country’s economic and social development. Research by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shows that each year of schooling increases an individual’s economic output by 4 to 7 percent. Educating women and girls, in particular, yields profound social and economic benefits. Studies demonstrate that educating women and girls leads to lower infant and child mortality rates, lower maternal mortality rates, better educated children and increased participation by women in the workforce. Yet despite these benefits, in many countries females receive less schooling than males.

Equal access to education by males and females has been defined as a universal human right by the United Nations. Realizing this right by expanding educational opportunities for women and girls requires the commitment of many sectors of a society. This issue of eJournal USA explores how international organizations, state governments, the private sector and individuals — in many different countries — are tackling this global challenge and improving people’s lives.

Introduction: Educating Women and Girls is Key to Meeting 21st Century Demands
Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women’s Issues
Promoting women’s and girls’ education and gender equality is a U.S. foreign policy priority.

Educating Girls: What Works
Dr. Barbara Herz, specialist in girls’ education policy
Educating women and girls is crucial to a country’s economic and social development.

Photo Gallery: Giving Back
Successful women in America answer the question, “How have you used your education to help others?”

• Ursula Burns, chairman and chief executive of Xerox Corporation
• Alexandra Cousteau, founder and president of Blue Legacy International
• Sophia Khawly, studying nursing at Florida State University
• Marissa Mayer, vice president of location and local services at Google
• Oluwadamilola Oladeru, studying biology and African studies at Yale University
• Amy Qian, studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Right to Education
Dr. Kishore Singh, United Nations special rapporteur on the right to education

“We Women Have Paved the Way to a New Life!”
Kristen Potter, education team leader with USAID/Morocco
USAID teaches literacy to women and girls in Morocco.

Harnessing the Ocean
A young Salvadoran woman studies (and teaches) oceanography.

Teacher Transforms Life with Click of a Mouse
Robert Burch, chief of the Office of Education with USAID/Philippines
USAID provides technology training to teachers in the Philippines.

More than Building Schools
In Rwanda, access to affordable sanitary pads can help keep girls in school.

Educating Girls, One Village at a Time
Dr. Nur Otaran, Fatma Özdemir Uluç and UNICEF
Grass-roots mobilization promotes girls’ school enrollment in Turkey.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Teachers
Tajik teacher Zebo Murodova explains the importance of female educators.

A Down Payment on a Brighter Future
Dr. Mohammed Niaz Asadullah, lecturer in economics at the University of Reading
School stipends in Bangladesh have led to more girls in secondary school.

Additional Resources

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)