Full Guardian Teacher Network Article

I first heard about The Girl Effect when I was researching charities to work with on Janie’s School, a project to build a school in memory of my mum. I remember the rush I felt to take action when I watched their video The Clock is Ticking:

The Girl Effect is built on evidence that the empowerment of girls is the key to significant social and economic change in developing countries. Here are some fast facts for you from GirlEffect.org:

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

• The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 — already the largest in history — is expected to peak in the next decade.

• In Nicaragua, 45 percent of girls with no schooling are married before age 18 versus only 16 percent of their educated counterparts. In Mozambique, the figures are 60 percent versus 10; in Senegal, 41 percent versus 6.

• Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.

Only recently, the front page of the London Evening Standard boasted the headline: Girl, 8, sold as bride to police officer. Unfortunately, forced marriage isn’t just something that happens to little girls in far off lands. In 2008, the BBC reported hundreds of pupils from ethnic minorities going missing from UK schools, suspected of being forced into marriages abroad. Indeed, only last month The Guardian reported the danger Summer Holidays represent for those at risk here in the UK.

To me, education is the key to changing this situation. Not just education in the developing world but right here. If you’re looking for resources to teach your students about the plight of girls in developing countries you will find a great Fact Sheet from Send My Sister to School on GTN here and an engaging comparison exercise between education in Victorian Britain and present day Nigeria here. If you teach Year 10 there is also the opportunity to get involved with The Steve Sinnott Award for young campaigners.

Something every class can do, no matter what the age or stage (sorry, I couldn’t resist it) is write a blog post for The Girl Effect. It’s a great way to get students thinking about their own education as well as the parallels and dangers to women and girls both in the UK and worldwide. With my own students, I use blogging as a way to curate lessons and share resources as well as to give opportunities to share causes they’re passionate about.

My mum used to say that education was the gift that no one could ever take away from you. To girls in the developing world it’s not just the greatest gift, it’s in the most literal sense, a lifesaver. Please help us spread the word and share your experiences to raise awareness of The Girl Effect

To see other blog posts on The Girl Effect visit: taramohr.com/girleffectposts/

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