Three quarters of African girls are out of school

12 Oct

On 11 October as the world celebrated the very first International Day of the Girl Child, I had the privilege of speaking at an event to highlight the struggles of girls around the world and advocate for greater empowerment.

I spoke about my passion for ensuring that all children, particularly girls, have access to an education.

Reviewing general statistics about girls globally, I was saddened that Africa still features so prominently amongst regions where girls struggle the most for their basic rights.

That should make all of us even more determined to do whatever we can to make the world a better place for African girls.

Some Key Statistics

On girls globally:

  • 75 million girls do not attend school
  • 100 million girls are engaged in child labour
  • Girls under 16 are the victims of 50 per cent of sexual assaults worldwide
  • More than 60 million girls are forced into marriage each year, many to men twice their age or older
  • Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls in developing countries between the ages of 15 and 19

On African girls:

  • In sub-saharan Africa, almost three-quarters of girls are out of school, compared to only two-thirds of boys.
  • African girls aged 15-24 are 8 times more likely than men to be HIV positive.
  • Each year about 16 million girls aged 15-19 years old around the world give birth, with most living in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has the second highest rate of early and forced marriage. 14.3 million girls in the region are married before they reach 18. Among the countries where the rate of early and forced marriage exceeds 70 per cent – Niger, Chad and Mali – adolescent fertility and maternal mortality rates are also high.
  • In African countries where the legal age of marriage differs by sex, the age for women is always lower. In Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the legal age of marriage is 18 for males and only 15 for females.
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One Response to “Three quarters of African girls are out of school”

  1. Patience Madambi October 13, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Sad. Really Sad. To narrow it down to Zim, it is reported that 1 in 3 girls under the age of 18 is sexually abused in their home by a relative i.e brother, father, cousin or uncle. In the workplace, very few women are in senior management. Girls within the family setup continue to be considered as less valuable to their brothers. The Zim law states that a girl can be married off by her parents when she turns 16 while the boy can only marry at 18. At the moment, pregnant women can go to any state owned hospital and clinic for free maternity services … Note where importance is emphasised. It sickens!!!

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