Education a focus on International Day of the Girl Child
Afghan schoolgirls study in an open air school in the outskirts of Jalalabad on September 11, 2012. Violence and abuse against women continues to be a major problem in Afghanistan a decade after US-led troops brought down the notorious Taliban regime.
October 11th, 2012
04:12 AM ET

Education a focus on International Day of the Girl Child

By Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) - The United Nations has designated October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. 

The mission of the day is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

One ingredient crucial to affording girls the opportunity to reach their full potential is education.

International Day of the Girl Child comes as the world reacts to the shooting of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who attends school and wrote online about the value of educating girls. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, which also injured two other classmates. The shooting has been called despicable and cowardly, and has drawn tremendous international interest.

"And why are they so afraid of Malala?" columnist Frida Ghitis wrote on "Mostly, because she is not afraid of them."

But many girls don't have the support Malala does.

The reality

In more than 100 countries, school is not free, and parents of limited resources choose to invest in their sons’ education, not their daughters’.  The high rate of child marriage in some cultures means that many girls in developing countries never even have the opportunity to go to school. Worldwide, only 30% of girls are enrolled in secondary school.

And when it comes to overall literacy, there is a gap between males and females worldwide.  Though there has been progress over the past decade, there is a 5.1% gap between male and female youth literacy, meaning that fewer young females are literate.

According to UNESCO,Despite progress, girls and women continue to be disproportionately excluded from education, especially at secondary education level and in the area of adult literacy.”

Benefits of educating girls

Educating girls has far-reaching positive effects for the individual, her community and her world. According to, educating girls...

Reduces the rate of child marriage: A girl who has 7 years of education will typically marry four years later and have fewer children.

Reduces disease: A girl who has basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.

Strengthens the economy: Only a year of extra school can increase a girl’s future earnings by 10% to 20%.

Promotes health: Children born to educated moms are twice as likely to survive beyond the age of 5.

Solves problems: Because education promotes critical thinking skills, girls learn to solve problems, a vital skill for the next generation of world leaders.

What you can do, today and beyond

CNN is partnering with 10×10, a global action campaign to promote girls’ education, to spread the message that educating girls in developing nations can change the world. A film, "Girl Rising," will air in spring 2013 that tells 10 girls' stories from around the globe. The organization has kicked off a photo campaign to invite people to raise awareness on why educating girls is #basicmath, and we hope you’ll take part. You can help. This CNN iReport assignment can show you how!


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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Mackenzie

    Everyone deserves to have an education, and no person should be excluded for any reason.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
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    October 18, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  3. DEJA J.



    October 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  4. Haleigh C.

    I believe that girls should be educated. The cures for many illnesses could end up trapped in a woman's brain and no one would ever know. The girls that are even educated now take advantage of it (in the U.S.). For example, students in America have desks, books, pencils, paper, etc. while Afghan students have none of these. Education IS necessary!

    October 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  5. shalin williams

    I think all girls should have have a good education because going to school can teach these girls how to become something in life and what to do in life ,the girls in the United Sates have good education bcause of who good the government is so us girls can learn what to do when we get older and what to do when we get older.

    October 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  6. Christina M.

    Many U.S students don't appreciate the opportunity to earn a decent education. Some students take it for granted and don't use it for good, but there are other people out in the world who are fighting for their right to education. It's time to realize what we have before we lose it. It's up to us to make good decisions as future leaders of our country. Without education, we can't accomplish/ achieve the goals and do the things that we want to do. I fully support International Day of the Girl Child and firmly believe we should participate to help others get a good education, so that we can all be successful in life.

    October 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  7. felix

    Not such incident in Africa,I salute Africa for Grl chil Education.

    October 14, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  8. Suzy

    I think Girls everywear should have an education because without an education you do as your told even if its wrong because they don't know any better.

    October 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  9. Nori

    Establish schools in the poorest neighbors and the government of every nation should pass a law that no girl should be left behind for education.Every girl deserve a basic education and it is duty of the government to act tough on those who deny education for girls. Every govt should go to grass root level to educate parents to send girls to school so that the parents will not face burden of having girl and she will bring income to the family. All the rich people and corporation should take active part in education for girls from all backgrounds especially the unfortunate ones

    October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  10. Katherine

    I'm afraid it's going to take much more than a designated day of the year to devote to change. Unfortunately girls all over the world are being treated worse than the animals in the fields. Why? Simply because they are girls. I'm grateful that I live in this country where girls have the best chance ever to succeed and be educated.

    October 12, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  11. spent

    How about a day of learning outside of all the social crap. How about going back to the BASICS?

    October 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  12. Dearth Verbose

    When schools and teachers are not possible would it be helpful to provide only textxbooks so that young people can teach themselves?

    October 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  13. chris

    Democrats support affirmative action programs in employment and college programs. Think before you vote.

    October 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm |