Educating Girls


Educating girls and empowering women is one of the most high-impact and cost-effective ways for every nation on this planet to take positive action on climate change. Project Drawdown ranked educating girls as their number 6 solution for tackling climate change. When combined with voluntary family planning, it actually becomes the #1 solution!

Yes – empowering women and girls could be the most powerful solution for building a safe and prosperous future for everyone on the planet. By ensuring that all girls and women have access to education and family planning, they are empowered to earn higher wages, become more independent, actively manage their reproductive health and have fewer and healthier children, consequently slowing down the population growth. Population size is a key driver of demand for food, transportation, electricity, buildings and goods etc, all of which produce emissions. Project Drawdown estimates that by giving girls access to education and family planning, we could reduce 105 gigatones of CO2 emissions by 2050.

Today, more than 263 million children are out of school and 130 million of them are girls. It is estimated that 15 million girls of primary-school age will never set foot in a classroom. Social solutions to climate change, while lesser known than technical or natural solutions, are just as powerful. So while we are electrifying transport and transitioning to renewables, we need to be providing universal access to education and family planning if we are to provide these incredible social benefits and protect our planet.



By closing an annual financing gap of $39 billion, we can ensure that every child attends pre-primary, primary, and secondary school. The key to achieving universal education by 2040 lies in investment as we will need more schools to house students and millions of more teachers. Governments, in addition to making education compulsory, could open up education for more people by covering the cost of tuition, textbooks, uniforms and transport for those who can’t afford it. As each country faces different challenges and barriers to education, creative country-led education solutions will be instrumental in closing the education gap. Amazing examples of how this works can already be seen around the globe.

In Burkina Faso, building “girl-friendly” schools in rural areas closer to where students live, and providing separate bathroom facilities and school meals, has seen the enrollment of girls skyrocket. The Family Grant (Bolsa Familia) program in Brazil, which pays parents a stipend in return for sending their kids to school, has been incredibly successful not just in getting children to go to school but also in expanding basic health immunisations. In Bangladesh, a girls’ scholarship program nearly quadrupled the number of girls enrolled in secondary school. Technology also has a huge role to play in expanding access to education by enabling innovative new ways of teaching and learning.



In short? Everyone! Universal education affects us all and everyone, at all levels of society, has a role to play in making this a reality. Multilateral and intergovernmental agencies, governments, philanthropists, the private sector, and many others can support global access to education by providing technical and financial assistance. At a community level, we can take an active role in raising awareness and promoting the right to education, supporting education initiatives and holding our Governments accountable. Getting the message out is crucial! If people know their rights, then they are empowered to claim them.

We can also use our own skills and resources to start community education programs, mentor students, sponsor education organisations or even financially support the education of a single child.

Together, we can work to ensure that every person has the right to an education.


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