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from The Great Debate:

Why girls’ education can help eradicate poverty

Educating girls and young women is not only one of the biggest moral challenges of our generation, it is also a necessary investment for a peaceful and poverty-free world. Until we give girls equal access to a good quality education, the world will continue to suffer from child and maternal mortality, disease and other byproducts of poverty.

This week, when world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly debate why many of the Millennium Development Goals remain out of reach, they should look no further than education disparities across the developing world. UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report team has released new evidence that shows how education gives girls and young women the freedom to make decisions to improve their lives.

Education is linked to the age at which women marry and have children. In sub-Saharan Africa and in South and West Asia, child marriage affects one in eight girls; one in seven gives birth by the age of 17. Education can empower these girls to have a say over their life choices -- by giving them the confidence to speak up for their rights, and to demand the opportunity to continue their studies. Our analysis shows that if all girls in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia had primary education, there would be 14 percent fewer child marriages. If all girls received a secondary education, 64 percent fewer girls would be locked into marriage at an age when they should still be in school.

Education also helps girls and young women defy social limits on what they can or cannot do. It empowers them to decide how many children they will have, and how frequently they will get pregnant. By learning about the health risks associated with years of consecutive childbirth, women can choose to delay getting pregnant. In Pakistan, for example, only 30 percent of women who have no education believe that they have a say over how many children they will have. This proportion rises to 63 percent among women who have secondary education. Giving uneducated girls a secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa would reduce the number of births per mother from almost seven to four. In practical terms, too, improving literacy among girls and young women offers enormous economic benefits. Until there are equal numbers of girls and boys in school, there will still be more illiterate women than men, and many fewer women than men in secure, well-paying jobs. When a young woman is seen as a potential wage-earner for her family, she has a better likelihood of making her own choices and resisting cultural and family pressure to have children.

from The Human Impact:

Postcard from Brazil: A woman free in Rio, not in Delhi

I have lived in the Indian capital for several years and, like many other women in this metropolis of 16 million, I soon learned how to deal with the lecherous stares and dirty comments, the drunken men in cars who follow my auto-rickshaw home from work at night.

I have learnt to be aggressive, to talk straight and serious when addressing male strangers, to not make eye contact, to not extend a handshake and to certainly not smile, share personal details or be friendly when dealing with men I do not know.

from The Human Impact:

Extreme measures to “protect” daughters in India

Gurpreet Singh is a determined man. But he is an even more concerned father.

The 32-year-old investment adviser is leaving India and migrating to Australia. There is nothing new in that -- tens of thousands of professional Indians emigrate every year.

Unlike most of them, Singh’s reason for leaving is not the pursuit of greater economic returns, but a search for something increasingly perceived by parents to be lacking in India -- security for their daughters.

from Full Focus:

India’s missing daughters

Following the case of a 5-year-old girl in Delhi who went missing and was then allegedly raped, photographer Mansi Thapliyal chose to find out what happens to girls who go missing and their parent's struggles. Read Mansi's personal account here.

from The Human Impact:

Malala: An icon for millions of girls who want to learn

When it happened two months ago, it shocked the world. Masked Taliban gunmen stopped a school bus filled with children in northwestern Pakistan, boarded it and shot 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head and neck as she sat in the bus with her friends.

Her crime? She was a campaigner for the right of girls to go to school -- an act strictly forbidden by Taliban militants who are still active in Pakistan's Swat Valley.

from The Human Impact:

UN education goals off track, progress on gender-report

Afghanistan has overcome the biggest obstacles of any country in its efforts to educate girls, according to a new global education reportreleased on Tuesday by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

In 1999, at a time when the ruling Taliban barred girls from getting an education, fewer than 4 percent of girls were enrolled in school, but by 2010 female enrolment was 79 percent, the UNESCO Education for All (EFA) report said.

from The Human Impact:

Swift action needed in fight against child marriage – UNFPA report

Despite gains in some countries, more than 14 million girls under age 18 will be married each year over the next 10 years, a figure expected to increase to more than 15 million girls a year between 2021 and 2030, according to a new report from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) released on Thursday.

As the number of girls who are married as children grows, the number of children bearing children will increase, and deaths among girls will rise, said the report, timed to mark the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child.

from MediaFile:

Tech CEO turns to trusted adviser on key decision; 10-year old daughter

Anyone who thinks the word “executive” in CEO stands for a person who actually executes decisions and strategy should think again, at least according to Technicolor CEO Frederic Rose.

 REUTERS/Charles Platiau

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

“It’s very funny, you get a job as a CEO and everyone says you’ve got this absolute power,” Rose told the Reuters Global Media Summit in Paris.

from FaithWorld:

Ban on headscarves in schools upsets devout Muslims in Kosovo

kosovo scarfThe leader of a protest against Kosovo's ban on headscarves in public schools says devout Muslims could resort to violence to get their way, though Islam is not central to the lives of most Kosovo Albanians.

The June 18 rally in the capital Pristina by 5,000 women in headscarves, supported by some bearded men, was held after a few headscarf-clad girls were prevented from entering their schools.  It was an extraordinary sight in Kosovo, whose 2 million population is 90 percent Muslim but mostly secular in lifestyle.

from FaithWorld:

Ultra-Orthodox protest against Israeli ruling to integrate Jewish schools

orthodox jews 1

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Israel Thursday against a court order to desegregate a religious school and force Jewish girls of European and Middle Eastern descent to study together.

Demonstrations were held in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, a Tel Aviv suburb with a large population of religious Jews, before some 80 Ashkenazi parents, Jews of European origin, were to report to jail for defying the Supreme Court ruling.

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