Did you know that, in Africa, 75% of girls start primary school, but only 8% of girls complete secondary school? Among the many reasons girls drop out or don’t complete school, the lack of access to clean water and inadequate and unsanitary toilet facilities during their periods are key barriers.
While dirty water and insufficient toilets are a reality for over more than 2.4 billion people around the world, they are especially damaging to adolescent girls and women. When girls lack access to gender-separate bathrooms that are clean and working, they often choose to stay at home during their periods. Also, women in Africa spend 40 billion hours each year fetching water or wood to boil water and cook, which keeps them out of school.
This devastating reality is holding girls back from their right to an education and their ability to lift their families and communities out of poverty and transform the world. In fact, just one additional year in school can increase a woman’s earnings by 10-20%. Some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls at the same level as boys because educated girls grow up to invest more in their children’s education.
We need your help to call on governments, businesses and stakeholders to act now and change this. With new commitments that address roadblocks such as menstrual hygiene management, or funding to the Global Partnership for Education’s gender equality strategy, together, we can encourage more girls to complete their education and grow the global economy!