- Charity calls on world leaders to see through $2.75B in global education funding and says it falls short of commitment needed to ensure most vulnerable girls not left behind
- Leaders must be held accountable for previous commitments to girls’ education, specifically the G7 Girls Education Declaration (2021) and the Charlevoix Declaration (2018)
- Closing gender pay gap can add half a per cent to a country’s per capita gross national product
The G7 Summit is set for May 19-21 in Japan. As leaders address our most pressing global issues, Canadian humanitarian, development and advocacy agency Children Believe, is declaring the summit ‘Girls-7’ to continue highlighting the need for a critical discussion about educating girls.
The G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023 is designed for frank and open international discussion and policy coordination to address global economic issues, security policies and other issues such as climate change and gender equality. Children Believe – an agency that has helped more than one million children globally to overcome barriers to education since 1960 – says one key solution is clear: create equal access to learning for girls.
Education has the power to address some of the world’s biggest issues. It enables girls to transform their lives, their households and their economies. Children Believe is urging G7 leaders to reiterate its earlier G7 commitment at Carbis Bay, UK (2021) to support the education of 40 million more girls with USD $2.75B funding over a five-year period, for the Global Partnership for Education. Although the civil society response welcomed the commitment of wealthy G7 nations to ensure the most vulnerable girls are not left behind, it still falls short of USD $3.5B that civil society partners were calling for.
“If every girl worldwide received 12 years of quality education, these educated women could contribute approximately $30 trillion to the global economy1. From filling the green jobs needed to combat climate change, to reducing the incidences of child marriage and child labour, the impact of education extends far beyond the classroom,” says Fred Witteveen, CEO of Children Believe. “G7 leaders need to recognize that ensuring girls worldwide get an education could double their lifetime income and provide simple solutions to larger issues affecting the global economy. Gender should not dictate literacy and education levels.”
How Does Educating Girls Add Trillions to the Global Economy?
Closing the gender gap in education not only allows young women and girls to dream fearlessly, it can also add half a per cent to a country’s per capita gross national product. When educated women work, they invest 90 per cent of their income back into their children’s health, education, and their communities, compared to 35 per cent for men2. Children Believe wants to change the narrative from gender discrimination being another problem to be solved, to recognizing that empowering girls is a significant solution to world issues.
Driving global positive change starts with education. Educated girls are more likely to:
- Run a business and grow the economy
- Educate their children and give back to their communities
- Avoid child marriage and poverty
- Invest in children’s health and welfare
Children Believe works with local partners, school administrations, community leaders, families and government agencies in Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote equality for girls and to deliver the tools and training needed to understand their rights and reach their full potential.
The Time is Now
The global education crisis remains a serious threat to child well-being. The latest research shows that 222 million children and adolescents are affected by emergencies and protracted crises are in urgent need of education support3. G7 members will not be able to deliver on their targets to have 40 million more girls in school and 20 million reading by age 10 without prioritizing girls in crisis-affected countries. With Canada hosting the G7 in 2025, Prime Minister Trudeau has the opportunity to continue championing this critical issue, hold leaders accountable for their previous commitments to girls’ education, specifically the G7 Girls Education Declaration (2021) and the Charlevoix Declaration (2018), and demonstrate Canada’s commitment to this key issue.
“By nicknaming this G7 Summit ‘Girls-7’, we’re hoping to catch the attention of international leaders who can advocate and prioritize girls’ education worldwide,” says Witteveen. “Funding for global education pledged at earlier G7 Summits is coming to an end. Unless this commitment is seen through, the dreams of millions of schoolchildren around the world will be threatened.”
Access to Education Changes Lives
To recognize the ‘Girls-7’, Children Believe has shared seven success stories that illustrate how investing in girls’ education can turn the tide on global issues affecting our economy. These girls have overcome discrimination, deprivation and danger and have courageously fought back to advocate for the importance of education.
- Geetha’s Story (India): Refusing to be a child bride, Geetha changed the course of her life by challenging her community’s philosophy on child marriage, abolishing it for good in her village.
- Efrata’s Story (Ethiopia): A survivor of tragedy, Efrata is proud to have the opportunity to be back in school and learning after the loss of both of her brothers to war.
- Doris’s Story (Ghana): Doris was only six when she was forced to labour in the fields. Now, after the loss of her mother, she’s fighting to stay in school and become a nurse.
- Francis’s Story (Nicaragua): Francis’ dream of becoming a lawyer seemed out of reach due to her family’s limited financial means, but Children Believe programming made it possible to pursue university and even help with her family’s expenses.
- Sohaibata’s Story (Burkina Faso): Life changed in an instant when violent conflict arrived at Sohaibata’s family’s doorstep. Forced to flee, she is rebuilding her life far from home with help from Children Believe. Education remains a supportive space until it’s safe to come home.
- Nilda’s Story (Paraguay): Grade one student Nilda had a hard time learning and struggled during pandemic lockdowns and school closures. After being inspired by a teacher through Children Believe programming, she now wants to be an educator herself.
- Sophia’s Story (Ukraine): Coping with the experience of war and living on the move, eight-year-old Sophia received psychosocial support and socialization with other children in a program supported by Children Believe. Now, her mother says she is overcoming her fears and happy again.
Last year, nearly 200,000 girls gained greater access to education through Children Believe programs. ‘Girls-7’ is just the beginning of what can be a solution to many issues growing economies face around the world. Creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. Canadians can help the global economy by sending young learners to school here.
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