Teachers are at the center of society’s fundamental building block, education. Today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders, thus it is the responsibility of educators to help them become future-ready.
Around 31 million females in the world who should be in primary school are not. And if current trends hold true, it’s predicted that all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa won’t finish elementary school until 2086. Through this edition, we’re recognizing five women who are using their voices, influence, and leadership to advance girls’ education around the world. This is but a small sample of the millions of women driving change; it is by no means an exhaustive list.
Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States
In 2015, Mrs. Obama introduced “Let Girls Learn,” a new U.S. effort to support community-focused girls’ education all across the world. Mrs. Obama has regularly spoken for the need of educating girls around the world.
7,000 Peace Corps volunteers will be utilized by the project to aid hundreds of brand-new neighborhood initiatives that encourage girls’ attendance and retention in school.
The First Lady stated at the White House event that girls are our future entrepreneurs, teachers, and doctors. They are our visionaries and dreamers, and they have the power to alter the course of history.
Michelle Bachelet, Former President of Chile
In 2014, President Bachelet implemented a comprehensive education reform program that increased the government’s spending in public education during her second non-consecutive term.
She supported the Fund for Gender Equality, which offers funds to encourage creative initiatives by governmental organizations and civil society organizations to promote equal gender access to high-quality education, in her previous position as Executive Director of UN Women.
We put a lot of emphasis on girls’ education because it puts them on a path to better economic prospects and social participation, she added.
Malala Yousafzai, Activist
Young Malala resisted Pakistani fundamentalists and their brutal attacks by having the guts to attend school, and she went on to become a global symbol of the value of educating females. 2014 saw Malala, then 17 years old, receive the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her brave and powerful speeches in support of girls’ education.
I want to be remembered as the “girl who struggled for school,” not as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban,” she stated. “I want to dedicate my life to this cause,” the speaker said.
She is the founder of the Malala Fund, which works to improve systems and policies at the global, national, and local levels to ensure that girls have access to high-quality education.
Emma Watson, Actress
Ms. Watson serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, a United Nations agency devoted to empowering women and promoting gender equality. In that capacity, she started the HeForShe movement, which encourages men and boys to help break down the social and cultural constraints that keep women and girls from fully participating in society.
“We don’t often talk about guys being imprisoned by gender norms but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural result,” she remarked at a UN Women event in September 2014.
Graça Machel, activist and philanthropist
Ms. Machel has spent her entire life championing girls’ education and children’s rights through her philanthropy and advocacy work at the Graça Machel Trust. She has also raised awareness about the scourge of female genital mutilation, early child marriage, and other practices that prevent girls from realizing their full potential.
She and the prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, co-wrote in an Op-Ed piece last year that “too many girls are stunted, malnourished, denied school, and coerced into early marriages.”
Policymakers need to address this gender discrepancy because it poses a risk to the stability of future generations.