Social and cultural >>
School girls in Africa (above) and Pakistan(below)
"If there is one single thing we can do to counter inequality and poverty, it is to ensure that every child across the world, but particularly every girl, gets a good education." Cherie Blair
Educating girls is the key to achieving equality of opportunity between men and women across the world. 'Educate a man and you educate an individual - educate a woman and you educate a family and a nation'.
These are a few of the grim facts facing women:
*Of the 130 million children not in school, two out of every three are girls
*Women are twice as likely to live in poverty as men
*Just one percent of the titled land in the world is owned by women
*Half a million women a year die unnecessarily as a result of pregnancy or childbirth
*Women are now overtaking men in rates of HIV infection
*For every one woman in parliaments across the world there are 9 men
A poor woman in a Nairobi slum summed it up when asked by a worker for the UK government development agency what event she would change in her life if she could, she replied "I would be born a man".
The UK Government Department for International Development has a programme which focuses on gender parity through education, leading to better career prospects for girls, as part of the Millennium Development Goals.
Hilary Benn, when Secretary of State for International Development, said: " I am convinced that educating women in the developing world can help unlock progress towards all other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including: child mortality, maternal health, and HIV and AIDS."
See Cherie's Speech "The Importance of Educating Girls" in Speeches and Articles.