15 women speak up on the power of education

These 15 women made powerful statements at the GPE Financing Conference in Dakar last month about the importance of educating all girls and boys around the world, to ensure they reach their full potential and lift up their families and countries to a brighter future.

Education in Madagascar. Credit: GPE/Carine Durand
The girls I work with have fantastic visions, they want to be pilots, accountants, journalists. Those dreams can only happen with 12 years of quality education.
Peace Ayo
Youth advocate, Malala Fund
Students read GPE supplied supplemental reading books in the library at Billy Town Primary School, a GPE constructed and supported school; Brewerville, Montserrado County, Liberia. Credit: GPE/ Kelley Lynch
In a world where nearly half of the population is under the age of 25, we cannot afford to not invest in education.
Jayathma Wickramanayake
UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth
Class 3 students; Asfia Badr Basic School for Girls, Nile East Locality, Alfayhaa Administrative Unit, Al-Baraka District, Khartoum, near Sudan. Credit: GPE/ Kelley Lynch
Education is the basis of a partnership to create global peace...Education gives freedom.
Koumbou Boly Barry
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Young girls in class at the Soya Ali Hossain Nationalized Primary School. Credit: GPE/Daisuke Kanazawa
We believe in the power of education to transform lives, to transform societies, to build a better future.
Audrey Azoulay
Director-General, UNESCO
Children attending Mpingu primary school. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
[to world leaders] Remember when you go back to your home countries to make decisions that will impact the lives of millions of girls around the world; their future depends on education, and their education depends on you.
Malala Yousafzai
Founder, Malala Fund
4th grade student Thandiwe, 10, using a computer at school, Zimbabwe. Credit: GPE/ Carine Durand
Educating a girl is educating a nation, because the bedrock of society is a woman.
Fatoumata Tambajang
Vice President of The Gambia
Children sit on the floor during lessons at Janbulo Islamiyya Primary School, Roni, Jigawa State, Nigeria. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
We know that education is the most powerful poverty breaker in the world, capable of ending intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and lifting up whole economies.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
CEO, Save the Children
Primary School in Cameroon. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Girls' and women's education is a powerful promoter of social justice and equality, and all obstacles to their enrollment, progression and achievement need to be clearly addressed.
Camilla Croso
President of the Board, Global Campaign for Education
School girls marching to their classrooms after morning assembly. Credit: GPE/ Stephan Bachenheimer
Education gives today's young people a pathway to fulfill their full potential as adults, to make their own decisions and to shape their own futures.
Henrietta Fore
Executive Director, UNICEF
A girl at the blackboard at Ayno Meena Number Two school in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Credit: GPE/Jawad Jalali
We know that if we educate girls the developing world will yield 308 million dollars per day... We can make the case that educating children, and particularly girls, helps us win the fight against poverty.
Gayle Smith
CEO, ONE Campaign
Overcrowded classrooms and broken infrastructure at Janbulo Islamiyya Primary School, Roni, Jigawa State, Nigeria. Classrooms throughout Jigawa State and much of Northern Nigeria require significant investment. But with 11,000 babies born [in the country] every single day, the system's capacity to deliver quality education and facilities is seriously overburdened. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Access to quality education is a basic leverage to fight against inequality and reduce poverty. It is what will enable boys and girls to fully achieve their potential, to make it possible for them to build prosperous societies.
Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister for Development, Canada
Leaders and youth advocates gathered for a workshop supported by Plan International in Dakar on Wednesday, January 31st. Credit: GPE/Victoria Egbetayo
Education is after all one of the most effective ways to fight terrorism and radicalization.
Reem Al-Hashimy
Minister of State for International Cooperation, United Arab Emirates
Children in the village of Ambohimahatsinjo in rural Madagascar. Credit: Mohammad Al-Arief/World Bank.
Unless every child can reach their full potential, humanity never will.
Penny Mordaunt
Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom
Students in class at the Banteay Dek Primary School. Credit: GPE/Livia Barton
We cannot rest until every girl, every boy, every child who lives in poverty, every child living in a refugee camp, in an isolated village, in a fragile setting, every child with a disability has the chance to go to school and learn.
Alice Albright
CEO, Global Partnership for Education
GPE Board Chair Julia Gillard was joined by GPE Global Ambassador Rihanna and Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans during a trip to Malawi. Gillard, Evans and Rihanna met with children, parents and teachers in Malawi to better understand the needs for education in developing countries. Credit: Evan Rogers
Our work is not done, and this is a fight that we're never going to stop fighting until every boy and every girl has access to education.
GPE Global Ambassador


The Global Partnership for Education Secretariat is headquartered in Washington DC and has approximately 100 staff. The Secretariat provides administrative and operational support to all its partners including...

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