Education is a right

Every child has the right to an education, yet an estimated 129 million girls around the world are not in school. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, education was disrupted for 1.7 billion students worldwide. Current estimates predict that nearly 24 million children and youth may drop out or not have access to education in the next year due to the pandemic’s economic impact alone.

Education is critically important. When girls are educated, they are less likely to be forced into marriage, become pregnant as children or be victims of violence. Education provides girls with the knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to create a better, brighter future for themselves and everyone around them.

Plan International Canada works to improve access to quality, gender-responsive and inclusive education by removing barriers and creating safe learning spaces for all children – especially girls.

Barriers to girls’ education

Girls around the world face many barriers when trying to exercise their right to education. Here are some of the main ones:

Gender inequality 

Gender inequality

In some cultures, boys’ education is prioritized because they may be seen as future earners. Girls are more likely to be kept at home to help with family care and household chores.

girls are at a higher risk of experiencing violence in


In school, girls may face various forms of violence at the hands of teachers, peers and others. If parents or guardians learn that school isn’t safe for their daughters, they sometimes keep their daughters at home for their protection. Girls are also at a higher risk of experiencing violence on their way to school, especially if it’s a long distance.

Girls forced into child marriage instead of kept in

Child marriage

Child brides and pregnant girls are almost always forced to drop out of school.

lack of period products and washrooms make girls miss
school every month 

Lack of safe, girls-only washrooms

Without access to a safe, girls-only washroom, girls can’t manage their periods at school. This means they may miss several days each month, and some fall too far behind to catch up.

girls in poverty often need help provide for her
family instead of continue schooling 


The cost of uniforms, textbooks or bus fare can be too much to bear for a family living in poverty. Too often, parents choose to keep their girls at home and send the boys to school instead.

How your donation can help girls access their right to education

Plan International is working to make education more accessible for girls by tackling the root cause of what’s keeping them out of school: gender inequality.

6 ways Plan International Canada helps girls stay in school

Provide equal access to education by developing gender-sensitive learning environments for girls.

Educate boys and men about gender equality.

Keep schools safe for girls by providing them with a learning environment that’s free of violence, abuse and bullying.

Provide school food programs.

Give girls financial standing, independence and income through village savings and loan associations, vocational-training programs and girls’ scholarships.

Deliver information sessions on the importance of girls’ rights and gender equality.

The facts on girls’ education

With a pencil in hand, she can write her own future.

 Smiling girl writing on a blackboard in a school.  

When girls stay in school longer:

  • Their income increases
  • The likelihood of child marriage decreases
  • Child survival rates increase
  • The country’s GDP increases

How you can help

There are several ways you can support girls’ education.

Girl at school

Sponsor a girl in Africa

Donate today

Help advance children’s rights and equality for girls  today. 

Join our mailing list to receive updates

By signing up you agree to receive our emails.