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Infographic: The impact of girls’ education

There are 65 million girls around the world out of school and even more who struggle every day to remain where they belong – in the classroom.

In some developing countries, girls’ education is not considered a priority. But a quality education can dramatically change the lives of girls – and everyone around them.

An education will shape the values and opportunities of individual girls. But, educating girls has also been proven to help break the cycle of poverty within those girls’ families and communities.

Education is literally a life changer:

  • According to the Council of Foreign Relations, each extra year of a mother’s schooling reduces infant mortality by 5 to 10%.
  • The World Bank points out that an extra year of secondary school increases a girl’s potential income by 15 to 25%.

As you can see in the infographic below, education is crucial for young girls across the globe for many reasons:

Click to enlarge the infographic

A quality education will help girls in a number of areas key to their development and personal growth, like:

  • Decision making - A good education will make it possible for girls to make their own decisions and choices about things that affect their lives, like when to seek out healthcare, when to start a family, and what jobs to pursue.
  • Health – In some developing countries, girls suffer from poor nutrition and the illnesses and diseases associated with this. School-feeding programs often offer the guarantee of a nutritious meal every day, keeping girls healthy enough to stay in school and to concentrate on their studies.
  • Protection - In the longer term, secondary education can protect girls against HIV and AIDS, and sexual harassment. Girls will learn about their sexual health, their rights and receive an education relevant to their growing needs as adolescent girls.
  • Empowerment – it has been shown that educated girls are more likely speak out on issues affecting them and their families, to understand their rights and to be a force for change in their communities.
Learning for life

However, enrolment in school alone is not enough for girls to achieve all these benefits. Girls’ rights to education are meaningless unless they also have a supportive environment that helps them to enroll in school and stay there.

Plan’s 2012 State of the World’s Girls Report has shown that girls need a minimum of 9 years of quality education, which is especially important for adolescent girls.

Why? Plan’s research across 9 countries found that age 14 is the time most girls are likely to drop out of school. At this age, girls are standing at the cusp of adulthood. Their domestic and reproductive roles begin to shape their lives at the expense of education.

Unless girls are able to make the transition to secondary school and learn while they’re there, girls’ aspirations will become unreachable.

What’s the answer for girls? Truly accessible, girl-friendly secondary education.

To learn more about the impact of girls’ education, read Plan’s State of the World’s Girls Report 2012: Learning for Life.

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