10 October 2013 – Press Release

The International Federation of University Women (IFUW) says secondary

education is most consistent way to promote and protect the girl child.

– Girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a lifeline to development –


Geneva, Switzerland, 10 October 2013 – On the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, the  International Federation of University Women (IFUW), based in Geneva, Switzerland, says that students and workers deserve to have equal access to learning and knowledge regardless of their gender.


Educating girls brings reductions in mortality, fertility and poverty. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized as many girls are not in school, largely due to financial barriers.


In 1999, 105.6 million children of primary school age were out of school. Around 58% of these children were female compared to 42% males. By 2009, the total number of out of children declined to 67 million. Around 35 million girls were still out-of-school compared to 31 million boys. The gap between male and female out of school totals decreased from 16 million to 3.6 million between 1999 and 2009. While there are still more females out of school than males, the gender gap has decreased greatly over time.


“The present condition of girls sets the stage for the future condition of humanity,” said IFUW President Catherine Bell. “Civil society actors such as IFUW are in a position to support and encourage governments to empower their countries’ girls.” Provision of science and technology courses targeted at girls in schools, universities and vocational education programmes; Improved public and private means of transportation for girls to get to school; Deploying mobile technology for teaching and learning to reach girls, especially in remote areas.


Families should encourage girls to complete secondary school and to continue their education before getting married. Schools can provide female role models in the classroom. They can introduce gender-sensitised textbooks and gender-sensitive training among all teachers and ensure gender balance among science and mathematics teachers.


Investment and empowerment in girls is critical for economic growth, the eradication of poverty, ending discrimination and violence. Empowering girls requires their participation in decision-making processes and the support of their families, boys and men, and the wider community.


The  International Federation of University Women (IFUW) is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and has an international membership. Founded in 1919, IFUW is the leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.


GWI has consultative status with ECOSOC. Learn about our grants & fellowships and our advocacy work. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@IFUWomen)


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For more information you can contact:

Contact Person: Nina Joyce

Tel: +41 22 731 23 80

Email: nj@ifuw.org

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