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Around the world, women and girls are fighting for their right to stay in school and finish their education. So why can’t they?

In many countries, girls are denied a basic right… an education.

In countries where women do not have a voice in society, they are more vulnerable to early marriage, trafficking and child labor. Around the world, school is often the greatest line of defense for vulnerable women and girls.

When a girl goes to school, she spends the day safe and protected in a classroom, and walks out empowered to make her own choices in life.

So, what keeps girls from going to school?

1. Gender discrimination

In some developing countries, girls do not have the same opportunities as boys. In regions of India where child marriage is still practiced, girls are often forced to drop out of school at an early age when their families arrange marriages for them. As a result, women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate people.

2. Poverty

Impoverished families often can’t afford supplies and uniforms, which are required in many countries. The COVID-19 pandemic also added new expenses for families everywhere, making masks and sanitizer mandatory school supplies.

In some regions, mandatory fees have to be paid before kids can attend classes, preventing children from even enrolling. If parents can afford fees for just some of their children, in some cultures, parents are more inclined to send their sons to school than their daughters.

3. Distance

In rural villages, it can take hours to walk to class. For both boys and girls, this puts them at greater risk of being trafficked or sexually assaulted. Bicycles can help them get safely to school, but for families just getting by, buying a bicycle is nearly impossible.

4. Child labor

In countries like India, girls are often kept home to learn household chores. Sometimes, they will work as domestic servants to help bring in income for their families, making them vulnerable to abuse.

The fifth reason girls never attend or drop out of school might be the most surprising of all — something that many of us take for granted every day.

5. Safe facilities

Right now, girls are dropping out of school because they have to share bathrooms with boys, and even male teachers. These bathrooms rarely have locks, or even doors… Without safe facilities, school — a place for learning and opportunity — becomes dangerous for a young girl. And a teenage girl beginning puberty without the necessary feminine products might stay home altogether to avoid embarrassment and harassment from others.

There are already so many roadblocks that keep teenage girls from going to school. Lack of safe bathrooms shouldn’t be one of them.

For a young girl beginning puberty in Soda, Ethiopia, lack of safe facilities could keep her from getting an education and ever rising above poverty. Your gift today will help upgrade school bathrooms and give a girl the sanitary supplies and support she needs get an education.

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