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Every child has the right to an education, yet an estimated 130 million girls around the world are not in school, and those who are, struggle to remain in the classroom – where they belong.

When girls are allowed to go to school, they may drop out because of menstruation, child marriage, household chores, gender-based violence and more. Girls who are able to get an education are less likely to be forced into marriage, become pregnant as children, or be victims of violence.

Schooling is a process of empowerment, and it can provide the route out of poverty, inequality, and violence when delivered properly.

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 - In some cultures, boys and girls are valued differently. Boys’ education is often prioritized because they may be seen as future earners. Girls can be kept at home from school to help with family care and household chores.
  • Violence – In school, girls may face various forms of violence at the hands of teachers, peers and others. If parents or guardians find out that school isn’t safe for their daughters, they may remove them. Girls are also at a higher risk of experiencing violence of harassment on their way to school, especially if it’s a long distance.
  • Child marriage – child brides are almost always forced to drop out of school, same with pregnant girls.
  • Lack of safe, girls-only washrooms – without access to a safe, girls-only washroom, girls are unable to manage their periods at school. This means they may miss several days each month and some fall too behind to catch up.
  • Poverty - Parents or guardians may not have the financial capacity to send their children to school or to afford school uniforms and supplies.

How do we help girls get back in the classroom and stay there?

The way we make education more accessible for girls is by tackling the root cause of what’s keeping them out of school and that is gender inequality. When boys and girls are valued equally, all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Through our projects, we help girls stay in school through the following ways:

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

Educate boys and men about gender equality by engaging them in promoting girls’ and women’s rights

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

Provide school feeding programs that keep girls’ stomachs full, their brains active and offer parents incentives to send their daughters to school

Give girls financial standing, independence and income through village savings and loans associations (VSLA), vocational training programs and girls’ scholarships

Challenge gender roles and stereotypes by running information sessions that raise awareness at home and in the community on the importance of girls’ rights and gender equality

The facts on girls' education

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Gender inequality is keeping girls out of school

Too many girls around the world are being denied their right to an education but gender equality remains attainable with determined youth leading the way.

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Educate to end child marriage.

Education helps girls better their lives. The longer they stay in school, the less likely they'll be married early. See how Keya and Roksana used education as a weapon to fight child marriage.

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COVID-19 School Closures Impact Nearly 743 Million Girls

Significant gains have been made in girls' education around the world, but the COVID-19 pandemic is putting them at risk.

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Girl holding a sign that reads, Educate Girls for Success.

How YOU can help

Supporting girls’ education is one of the single best investments we can make to help end poverty. It will save lives. It will transform futures. It will unleash the incredible potential of girls and their communities.

Invest in girls and change the world.

Send a girl to school

Sponsor a girl

Sponsor the BIAAG Project