Opening Doors to Gender Equality Through Literacy

Secondary education for girls can transform communities, countries and our world


It is an investment in economic growth, a healthier workforce, lasting peace and the future of our planet. That’s why Save the Girl Child advocates — at the local, national and international levels — for resources and policy changes that improve access to education for girls.


It is critical for us to understand the importance of education for women and girls as an essential step along the path to gender equality and a catalyst for change in the lives of women, their families, their communities, and the world. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are interconnected, that is to say the key to success for achieving one SDG involves tackling issues associated with another. It is especially true for girls’ education: educating girls and promoting gender equality are key for the world to deliver on all the SDGs. Overcoming poverty means making as many girls as possible literate


In 1998, there were 143 million girls of secondary school age out of school compared to 127 million boys. Today, though illiteracy is being brought down, there are still 97 million girls compared to 102 million boys out of school. This means that millions of girls are not developing the skills they need to successfully transition to adulthood or succeed in the workforce. We are facing a learning crisis, which is leading to a skills crisis. Education systems have allowed gender divides to be perpetuated and to disproportionally affect the most marginalized girls

“There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls … Without achieving gender equality for girls in education, the world has no chance of achieving many of the ambitious health, social and development targets it has set for itself.”

Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General (2005)