But don’t let these statistics make you assume that women everywhere else have the same right and access to education. For a lot of the developing world, the educational standards for women compared to men are much more dismal. As part of their ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign, charity Plan UK have highlighted the disparity; out of the 757 million illiterate adults worldwide, two-thirds are women. More than 63 million girls between the ages of 6 and 15 have no access to education. The charity states that a lack of education stops girls from living a normal life and keeps them trapped in poverty.
An important step to draw attention to this issue is to show the work of women from around the world who have campaigned, and continue to campaign, for educational equality since the early 19th century. Plan UK have created a new infographic to highlight and celebrate some of these pioneering women.
Graca Machal is another campaigner who has tirelessly worked for women and girls’ rights worldwide. Having been the Minister for Education and Culture in Mozambique from 1975-1986, Machal is especially passionate about youth education and is continues to act as an appointed expert on children’s issues for the UN. She produced a pioneering report on the impact of war on children, particularly girls, stating “gender-based inequity is usually exacerbated during situations of armed conflict” and that “war often discourages girls from attending school because it is more unsafe for them to leave home”. To this day, Machal works towards the advancement of children’s lives.
It is women like Hainisch and Machal who have been vital to securing a better future for many girls; getting them the education needed to lead a happy and healthy life. By drawing awareness to this disparity and working towards a solution, their actions will always be an important step to achieving educational equality. This in turn will help many girls, and their families, escape the poverty that they have been born into. Whilst some countries have already reached this point, the majority are still learning this crucial lesson.