Despite significant gains in recent years, education outcomes for girls in developing countries continue to lag behind those of boys. Adolescence is a particularly critical stage for girls, marked
by rapid biological and psychological changes as well as powerful social expectations of how their lives should unfold.
For many girls in developing countries, adolescence also marks a time of extreme vulnerability: to child marriage, teenage pregnancy, sexual violence, nutritional deficiency and exposure to HIV/AIDS. It also marks a time when pressures of social norms and cultural practices place new restrictions on what girls can do and who they can be. Lack of access to education increases vulnerability to these risks and constraints. Conversely, being in education acts as a powerful protective factor as well as a route to empowerment for girls to determine their own destiny.
Achieving gender equality means delivering on three interlinked areas for girls: health, education and safety. GPE uses its results-based partnership model to work with developing countries to prioritize planning and spending on girls’ education throughout the education cycle, to achieve gender equality. Ensuring girls and boys have equal access to inclusive, quality education is a core principle of GPE’s strategic plan, GPE 2020, and GPE’s Gender Equality Policy and Strategy 2016-2020. At the advocacy level and in conjunction with its partners, GPE is also promoting working across sectors to meet the holistic needs of girls, from a gender equality perspective.