Today marks the first-ever International Day of the Girl, a day in which organizations and individuals around the world will collaborate to hold events and a global conversation in effort to raise awareness about the importance of educating girls. (Watch the official video here.)

Globally, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world and of that number, 77.6 million girls are currently not enrolled in either primary or secondary education. This is a huge problem which has significant repercussions on not only girls but the economy and well-being of society as a whole.

Girls celebrating the Festival of Lights in Pokhara, Nepal. How long will they be able to stay in school? Photo credit: Author.

Organizations like 10 x 10 fully understand the power of girls and the way education can be used as a conduit to better not only their lives but society as a whole. 10 x 10 is a global action campaign dedicated to raising the value of a girl – in her home, community, nation and around the world.

Their mission is simple:  Educate Girls. Change the World.

“Around the world, millions of girls face barriers to education that boys do not. And yet, when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.”

So why should we focus on girls and why should we care? Here are some startling facts about girls’ education:

  • Of 163 million illiterate youth in the world, more than half – 63 percent-are female.
  • Around the world, 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty.
  • Sixty-five low and middle income countries are losing approximately $92 billion per year by failing to educate girls to the same standards as boys.
  • One girl in seven in developing countries marries before age 15.

Despite these dire statistics, there is hope. There is an enormous, untapped opportunity because it has been proven that the payoffs of educating girls are considerable.  Just providing one extra year of primary school education can increase a girls’ future wages by 10 to 20 percent, and an extra year of secondary school can help boost wages by 15 to 25 percent.  Even when a mere 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by 3 percent. Keeping girls in school not only boosts their livelihoods and the future livelihoods of their families, it is proven to keep them from marrying early, having more children and to help them be more engaged in the day to day lives of their families. An educated girl will be a better providers for her children and will have more knowledge on critical issues such as nutrition, maternal care and deadly diseases like HIV-AIDS.  Furthermore, an educated mother is more likely to earn income for her family and when she does, she will reinvest 90 percent of it into her family, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent by her husband.

The ripple effect of educating one girl in a community is astounding. The math is simple and easy. So why aren’t more girls in school?

There are many cultural, religious and poverty-related barriers that keep girls out of school. For instance, in poor families oftentimes only the boys are sent to school and the girls are kept home to work. Rural girls will generally help out with cooking, cleaning, child-rearing and even manual labor.  If a poor family lives in a country in which you have to pay school fees, it even further deepens the problem. Boys will often be chosen to attend school rather than girls.  Other barriers that are easily solvable yet continue to keep girls out of school include access to adequate lavatories and such simple things as sanitary pads.

These barriers can be overcome as long as the world believes in the power of educating girls.

There are some very inspiring stories about girls and their will to learn. Let’s meet 9-year old Eulalia. To get her education, Eulalia must travel on motorcycle — with her siblings — from her home atop a mountain in a remote Andean village in Peru, to a CARE-supported school for the children of alpaca shepherds in the valley. Come along with Eulalia on her journey.

Educating girls is not just right, it’s smart. Let’s help break the cycle of poverty by giving more girls the opportunity to learn and make the world a better place. Help us spread the word on why it’s vital to educate girls with these simple steps.

  • Join us in a day-long social media event by sharing this post.
  • Use your voice on Twitter using the hashtags #BasicMath and #10x10act.
  • Click here to download “Girls + Education” attachment and make it your own by filling in the blank with what educating girls means to you. Tweet the photo from your handle with the has tag #BasicMath and tag @10x10act.


This is an original post by Nicole Melancon (USA). Photo above of children dressed in their school uniforms waving enthusiastically at the passerby’s and singing “Namaste!” and asking for school pens. Photo credit: Author. 

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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