More than 100 million women are therefore currently missing from the world, with China and India alone accounting for 80 million missing women.
When it is time to start school, girls from families living in extreme poverty will often be sacrificed in favour of boys. Families know that, in a labour market that favours men, men will have more chance of finding a stable job and will be better paid than women.
If they are lucky, girls from underprivileged communities (usually in low income countries) will be allowed to attend school for a few years but will be removed from school when they reach pre-adolescence to be used as work force and/or married young – against their will, needless to say.
Education is one of the main areas in which girls are still subjected to discrimination today.
Girls currently make up 54% of all out-of-school children worldwide. In other words, 32 million girls do not go to school.
Two-thirds of illiterate adults are women (66.6 million women).
In 2015, 31% of countries had still not achieved gender parity in primary education. This figure rises to 62% for secondary education.
Fortunately, immense progress has been made in twenty years: the percentage of out-of-school girls in developing countries has fallen from 58 to 53%.
Girls are still particularly disadvantaged in the Arab States, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The education of girls has significant positive knock-on effects: an educated young women will earn at least 25% more income than her illiterate counterpart, leading to autonomy and enabling her to contribute to the economic well-being of the country by participating in the creation of wealth. In terms of health, she can effectively protect herself from viruses and pass on her knowledge to her children, who will in turn enjoy better health. Then, having experienced and understood the value of education, she will do all she can to send her children to school.
The education of girls is the cornerstone of economic and social development.
Every young and teenage girl should be able to go to school and stay there.
Since 2016, the Albatros Foundation has been committed to achieving gender equality in education. It therefore supports two organisations that are working to give girls the same opportunities to access education as boys: Educate Girls and Toutes à l’école.