> Barriers to Education for Girls

30th of August 2021

Girls, as much as boys, deserve to have an education, it’s a global right, however, in many developing countries, they are not given the same opportunities. The advantages of having educated women in communities are many, including being able to make better choices in life and join the labour market for paid employment.

Approximately 132 million girls do not attend school around the world. Out of these, 34.3 million should be in primary school, 30 million in lower secondary, and 67 million in upper secondary school (UNESCO).

“Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence and fragility.” (World Bank)

The following are some of the barriers preventing girls accessing or completing their education:

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Economic situation:

Poor families do not have enough money to pay for the education of their children, and they would always prioritise sending their sons to school if they had to. Even if schooling was free, which is not always the case, there are other costs they may not be able to cover, i.e. books, supplies, transport and uniform. Many families assume their daughters’ roles to be helping with housework and caring for other family members. In a lot of communities, girls are also given in marriage early to remove the family’s burden, or just out of cultural norms, and they generally stop going to school and assume a wife’s role, and eventually become mothers. According to a World Bank report, over 41,000 under aged girls marry on a daily basis.

Lack of, or poor, infrastructure:

Although not having a school to go to affects both, boys and girls, lacking sanitation provisions, like private toilets for females and water, affect the latter even more.

Safety issues:

It is not always safe for girls to go to school, especially when they have to walk long distances to get there. They may face sexual harassment and abuse, which would eventually stop the girls from attending school. In some places they are not even safe from violence within the schools.

Educating girls should be a global development priority. Women with some levels of education tend to care for their families’ diet and health better; make more informed choices in life, including whom they marry and when; raise educated and happier kids; work and contribute to the betterment of their communities, societies and countries as whole.

READ Foundation’s work aims to overcome all the obstacles to girls’ education by helping poor families with their basic needs, teaching them regarding the importance of sending girls to school, covering their education expenses, building and equipping schools, training teachers and other staff, providing transport, and in general making sure all children feel safe from the moment they leave home until they return.