The Conspiracy Chronicles: March 2020

Changing the world with girls' access to education! 📚

Happy March, Conspiracy Chronicle followers! First up, welcome to all of our new members!

It’s Women’s History Month here in the United States, so we thought, as a core team of women writers, that we’d celebrate something we’re thankful for: the global expansion of access to education for women! 

Around the globe, access to education for young women has changed and is changing lives for generations. It’s a remarkable tale of unlocking our full human potential and the ripple effect that can have!

To all of you who are new to The Conspiracy Chronicles, this is Ever Widening Circles’ monthly newsletter where we highlight some of the world’s toughest problems and celebrate the people hard at work fixing them. They are proving that a  #ConspiracyofGoodness is alive and well in our world!

Turning the Page on a Global Problem!

Over the past 50 years, the world has seen a revolution in women’s access to education. Since 1970, the global average school life expectancy--the number of years a girl will stay in school--grew from 6.7 years to 12 years. In developing countries, the jump was from 2.8 to 8.9 years! (UNESCO) Even with this progress though, only 66% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education and just 45% of countries have achieved gender parity at the secondary level. (Unicef)

So, what does this mean for all of us? What would be the impact of reaching full gender parity— even at the secondary level—mean for women across the world? Well, it could have an enormous impact. Here are just some of the ways giving girls access to education changes their lives, the lives of their children, and their communities as a whole:

  • For each additional year of secondary education, girls’ risk of marrying as a child and having a child before age 18 decreases by 6 percentage points. (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative)

  • If the world were to achieve universal secondary education, child marriage could virtually be eliminated. (Right now, only one in three girls completes lower secondary school in low-income countries.)(United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative )

  • Ending child marriage could generate more than $500 billion in benefits annually around the globe. (World Bank)

  • Children of literate mothers are over 50% more likely to live past the age of 5, and a mother’s education reduces the likelihood of her dying in childbirth. (Right to Education)

  • One year of secondary education for girls can lead to as much as a 25% increase in wages later in life. (Right to Education)

  • Women tend to reinvest 90% of their income into their families. (Right to Education)

And, the positive influence of educating girls doesn’t stop there. Gender equitable school systems benefit boys, too. They can keep boys from entering into harmful, traditionally masculine behaviors like child labor, gang violence, and recruitment into armed groups. (Unicef

So, what’s keeping us from ensuring that every girl has access to education and able to make it through secondary school? 

Poverty is the primary factor in limiting girls’ access to education. Beyond the cost of school fees, costs like transportation, uniforms, and supplies can be too expensive for families. In addition, parents often rely on the girls to help support the home or are dependent on their income, so sending girls to school can be costly to a family. (Global Citizen

Another leading disruptor to a girls’ education is child marriage. There are 700 million women around the world who were married as girls. Child marriage occurs disproportionately in developing countries, for reasons ranging from cultural traditions to economic strain on a girls’ family. (Global Citizen)

Factors like these, as well as gender-based violence, regions of conflict, and cultural norms are further compounded by the stigmas around menstruation. Menstruation is stigmatized in cultures around the world and the cultural shame, and/or lack of access to sanitary products and sanitation leads many girls to miss school, or drop out altogether. (Global Citizen)

What can we do to remove these barriers for girls?

Luckily, we’re not alone in recognizing the importance of unlocking the full potential of half of the world’s population! Organizations across the globe are hard at work educating communities on the importance of access to education for women and tackling issues like poverty, child marriage, and period stigma. Organizations like the UN, UNICEF, The Malala Fund, and CARE are working to tackle the root causes that keep girls from accessing life-changing education!

Our Featured Thought Leader!

The Malala Fund was founded in 2013 by Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin. They work across the world to break down the barriers that keep girls from getting access to education. Along with advocacy at the local and international levels, they work with a network of local educators and advocates around the globe. This network leverages the wisdom of the people who know their own communities best to have a lasting impact on giving girls access to secondary school.

Called the Gulmakai Network, they work in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Syria region supporting local advocates, teachers, and champions in leading lasting change. It’s a brilliant system that works with communities in a bottom-up approach!

If you want to learn more about the Malala Fund and their work, check out their website! It’s sure to leave you inspired! We love that they focus their energy on a community approach while advocating on a larger scale for the political and structural changes that the world needs to guarantee a girl’s right to education! If you’re feeling inspired you can also donate to support their work with a one-time donation or on a monthly basis! 

Girls around the globe need advocates and the support of those who have a voice and the power to influence change! You can be a part of that change. 

Things You Can Do!

  • Donate! The organizations that are hard at work ensuring girls have access to education need your support. If you have the funds consider donating to organizations like the UN, UNICEF, The Malala Fund, and CARE. All of them are working to tackle the root causes that keep girls from accessing life-changing education!

  • Get Vocal! If you live in a place where women’s access to education is readily available you can still make a change! Follow organizations like The Malala Fund on Facebook and Instagram and share and amplify their content. What you share on social media and talk about with your friends matters! The more people who know about an issue the more we can shine a spotlight on it to make a change.

  • Educate Yourself! There are many organizations out there changing hearts and minds to help secure access to education and empowerment for girls. You can learn about a few of them by checking out this Circle (a playlist of EWC’s content)!

Share this newsletter! SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! Forward this newsletter to a friend, a sister, a cousin! Anybody in your life who needs to know about some of the good things happening in the world! The more people who know that progress is out there, the more we can celebrate it and make a difference!

Keep Up with the Community!

How are you helping advocate for girls’ education? Are you a fan of any organizations we should know about? If so, let us know!

Follow Ever Widening Circles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we will be posting some of our favorite content and accounts with more information.

Finally, join the #ConspiracyofGoodness Facebook Group to see what other people are up to and share the inspiration you come across.

Forward this Email to a Friend!

Have a friend who could use some good news?

Forward this email along to them to let them know about the Conspiracy of Goodness™ and the ways they can influence change!

Have a great month!

  • Liesl

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