Facts and Figures

  • Two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female. (UNESCO, 2013)
  • Almost a quarter of young women aged 15-24 today (116 million) in developing countries have never completed primary school and so lack skills for work. Young women make up 58% of adolescents not completing primary school. (UNESCO, 2013)
  • Girls may be taken out of school because their families cannot afford school-related fees, or they may be married off for dowries, or forced into agricultural labour, factory work or sex work to support their family. (Global Health Council. School Safety: Protecting girls from violence and HIV/AIDS)
  • Poor girls may also exchange sex for food, school uniforms or money placing them at heightened risk of violence, pregnancy, and HIV infection. Studies conducted in Fiji, Ghana and Jamaica report that girls have sex with older men in exchange for transport to school, school fees and other costs associated with their education. (Ali, S., 2006. Violence against the Girl Child in the Pacific Islands Region cited in Amnesty International, 2008. Safe Schools: Every Girl’s Right Report)
  • An estimated 1 in 10 school-age African girls do not attend school during menstruation, or drop out at puberty because of a lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools. (Dooley, T. 2008. Should menstrual hygiene be an accelerated area of investment for girls’ education?, UNICEF Presentation at World Water Week, Stockholm, 2008)
  • In Afghanistan, girls on their way to school have been murdered, raped and had acid thrown in their faces to drive home the message that education is not for women—this has resulted in many parents stopping their girls from attending school. ( Jarvis, H., 2009. ‘Children in Afghanistan brave sexual harassment as they walk to school,’ on Rawa News.

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