5 reasons why girls’ education is a smart investment
As we celebrate International Day of the Girl, let’s look at how transformative it would be if all girls around the world received 12 years of quality education.
October 11, 2018 by GPE Secretariat
3 minutes read
A young student at the Beach View Nursery school in Guyana. Credit: GPE/Carolina Valenzuela
A young student at the Beach View Nursery school in Guyana
GPE/Carolina Valenzuela

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 …………….… 132 million.

Can you imagine how long it would take to count all the way to one hundred and thirty-two millions?  Each and every one of these numbers is a girl, who, today, is not able to go to school and receive the education that’s her basic human right.

Instead, she may need to watch younger siblings, fetch water far away from her home, or help sell items at the market or on the street.

Because of this, the odds of girls being able to pull themselves and their future families out of poverty are stacked against them.

We know that educating girls works, and the data proves it. Here are 5 reasons why girls’ education is a smart investment:

  1. It saves lives: 190,000 mothers’ lives could be saved if all of them completed primary education.
  2. It promotes higher earnings: Women with primary education (partial or completed) earn up to 20% more than those with no education at all. Women with secondary education may expect to make almost twice as much, and women with tertiary education almost three times as much as those with no education.
  3. It helps end child marriage: If universal secondary education were achieved, it could virtually eliminate child marriage.
  4. It empowers: In a study done in 54 countries, women with a secondary education were 4 times less likely to lack control over household resources, suffer from domestic abuse, or be married too young, compared to women with a primary education only.
  5. It makes children healthier: Each extra year of schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5% to 10%.


The Global Partnership for Education has made it a priority to support girls’ education, and the following results in partner countries show this:

  • 41 million more girls are in primary school since 2002.
  • 74% of girls now finish primary school compared to 57% only in 2002
  • 48% of girls now finish lower secondary school compared to 35% in 2002
  • In 2/3 of partner countries, as many boys as girls complete primary school.

We work with developing countries to increase the number of girls in school and learning. This is what we do:

  • put gender equality at the core of our strategy,  
  • adopted a gender equality policy,
  • developed guidelines to make education sector plans more gender responsive,
  • collect gender-disaggregated data to inform our work and results,
  • provide funding to promote gender equality in more than 86% of GPE grants, including through:

    • training more female teachers,
    • building separate toilets for girls and water points
    • campaigning with remote communities to ensure schooling for girls is promoted

We know there is a lot more work to be done, and we will continue to advocate and work tirelessly to ensure all girls can learn and thrive.

For more information:

Post a comment or
Gender equality

Latest blogs

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Global and entity tokens are replaced with their values. Browse available tokens.