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Joanne Fritz

Celebrate International Women's Day by Educating a Girl

By March 8, 2011

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Today is International Women's Day. But there is so much to say about women around the world, that we started celebrating a couple of days ago. Each day this week, we are providing some statistics, highlighting organizations that are working on women's issues, and suggesting actions that you might want to take.

It's quite clear that education for women and girls is the key to improving everyone's well-being. For instance:

Two-thirds of the world's illiterate adults are women, yet, as Camfed has found in Africa, girls who are educated are three times less likely to get HIV/AIDS, earn 25 percent more income and have smaller, healthier families.

Caleb Tiller, of the United Nations Foundation, writes in USA Today:

"Girls may be the answer to some of the world's most challenging problems. Research shows effectively investing in girls in developing countries creates a virtuous circle that improves health and prosperity for entire communities. Girls who are better educated earn more money, get married later, are healthier, and have fewer children than their peers. As earners, they invest more of that money back into their families, which accelerates the benefits of the initial investment, improving the lives of a whole new generation."

Suggested Action

Help educate a girl today, whether in a developing country or right here in the US where good education is still uneven among economic classes. Here are some organizations to consider:

  • Camfed - Camfed has fought poverty and AIDS by educating girls and empowering young women. More than 1,065,710 children in impoverished areas of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Malawi have benefited from its innovative education programs.

  • Room to Read - Room to Read has developed a holistic, multi-pronged approach to help children in the developing world gain the lifelong gift of education.

  • The United Nations Foundation - The UN Foundation works on many fronts to improve the lives of women and girls around the globe. Of special interest is its Girl Up program that involves girls in the US and other developed countries to learn about the plight of girls in less developed countries, raise money to help them, and form communities of support.

  • 10x10act - 10x10 partners with corporations and nonprofits to create support for adolescent girls around the world. A vital part of what it is doing is creating a film that will feature girls and promote their needs.

  • Girls Global Education Fund - In the US, we are accustomed to free public education for our children. In developing countries, however, schools charge fees to attend. Often families cannot afford these fees or must choose which of their children will attend school. Girls Global Education Fund, among other activites, provides scholarships for girls in these countries, enabling more of them to attend school.

  • AfricAid - Provides educational opportunities to girls in Tanzania.

  • She's the First - Encourages young women in the US to help girls around the globe to attend school.

How are you celebrating International Women's Day? What organizations do you support that help further the education of girls and women? Let us know in the comments.


Photo by Brent Stirton/Staff/Getty Images

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March 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm
(1) Erin Guttenplan says:

Happy International Women’s Day!

We are currently building a hostel in the Everest region of Nepal that will allow 40 girls from rural areas to pursue higher secondary school. If you’d like to see a video our our work in Nepal, please visit http://vimeo.com/20674219.

Thanks for supporting girls throughout the world!

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