16 Days of Activism is Ending, But Our Commitment to Education Isn’t

Young Arabic girls at school_featured image

We know that education can give women and girls access to tools and resources they need to achieve their fullest political, economic, and social potential. But out of the 600 million girls across the globe ages 10 to 19, approximately 62 million of them are not in school. And the outcome can be devastating. Without access to opportunities, young girls across the globe are regularly exposed to labor exploitation, trafficking, early marriage, violence and sexual abuses, and more.

Today is Human Rights Day, and the culmination of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an initiative that emphasizes the critical role that education plays in the prevention of violence against women and girls. While the past two weeks have been dedicated to raising awareness about the issue, our team here at FUTURES works 365 days a year to fight for women and girls’ access to education.

We believe it’s not only a basic human right; it’s the key to breaking the cycle of violence against women and girls throughout the world.

Earlier this year, we hosted the Open Square Summit in Washington, D.C. to convene innovative policy makers, academics, leaders, and experts from across the globe to help prevent global gender-based violence and increase access to education for women and girls. Here’s a peek at a powerful poem that was read at the Open Square Summit by Zinhle Essamuah, a student at the George Washington University. Learn more about increasing girls’ access to education by watching more inspiring videos from the event.

We read about the atrocities every day—from the ruthless attack on Malala Yousafzai, a young student in Pakistan, to the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. At times you may feel powerless to stop the violence, but you’re not.

There are many things you can do to take action.

Encourage your elected officials to support the International Violence Against Women Act and the Women, Peace, and Security Act to make the prevention of global gender-based violence a foreign policy priority in our country, and elevate women in peace keeping efforts across the globe.

Support our work to help prevent and end violence against women globally through our work on The Coalition for Adolescent Girls, dedicated to supporting, investing in, and improving the lives of adolescent girls, as well as Girls Not Brides, a civil society partnership of more than 500 organizations committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. We know that child, early and forced marriage is a form of violence against girls that often interrupts and impedes girls from getting an education all together.

Stand with us, on Human Rights Day and beyond, as we seek to increase girls’ access to education, decrease gender-based violence, and remove obstacles and barriers to help women and girls reach their full potential.