International Women’s Day 2022
Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme, Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow, recognizes the contribution of women and girls advocating for climate change adaptation, mitigation and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. To harness this potential, we must work together to break down persistent gender inequality and remove gender disparities at all levels. In our March 2020 blog, we outlined the steps needed to close the gender gap and advance gender equality.
Empowering women and promoting gender equality are crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ensuring access to a quality education is key to sexual and reproductive health, and affording women equal rights to economic resources, such as land and property. These are vital targets to realizing this goal. Without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future remains beyond our reach.
Since 2006, the 60 million girls Foundation has been funding projects to support girls’ education as we believe that this is one of the best ways to promote gender equality and life-long learning for women. For the last two years, we have asked our partners to develop projects specifically address the needs of adolescent girls whose learning has been affected by COVID-19 school closures and who may be at risk of dropping out of school.
While research has not yet shown how many girls dropped out during the full and partial school closures in most countries worldwide, we do know that learning, especially for children in lower income countries, has seen deep reversals of progress. Even before the pandemic, the World Bank’s and UNESCO’s learning poverty indicator estimated that 53% of 10-year-olds in lower income countries were unable to read a simple sentence with understanding. Now, preliminary findings suggests that the proportion of children not learning may rise to 70%.
Imagine being in school, or trying to learn remotely through a radio program or take-home handout, but just not having the time, or a quiet place to work, or support to figure out school work. Losing hope can lead to higher drop out. Many girls also drop out due to pressure to get married and carry out traditional roles. Yet this path consigns these young women to more hardships since, without an education, providing for their families and finding a way to stay out of poverty – or climbing out of poverty – become much, much harder.
This International Women’s Day, let’s support girls and women everywhere so that all children – no matter their gender – have a chance to get a quality education and pursue their dreams.