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Taraji P. Henson and Rep. Eliot Engel at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park.
Mary Kang for Global Citizen
AdvocacyEducation

This Important Bill for Girls' Education Received Bipartisan Support on the Global Citizen Stage


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Many children do not have the opportunity to learn, especially if they are girls. The UN’s Global Goal 4 for education states that all girls and boys must have access to quality primary and secondary education to end extreme poverty by 2030. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

A group of US politicians is committed to working across the aisle to end extreme poverty, by supporting a new bill to invest in girls’ education. This is in response to over 30,000 actions by Global Citizens since April this year.

Chair of House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said he has agreed to move the Keeping Girls in School Act through committee markup at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park on Sept. 28. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) followed in support of the Keeping Girls in School Act in a video that aired on stage. Sen. Young is a co-sponsor of the act, along with Rep. Susan Collins (R-ME), who reiterated the importance of foreign assistance to improve standards of living for millions of people around the world.

Rep. Engel told the crowd of 60,000 Global Citizens that he’s backing the Keeping Girls in School Act because “We know that women already have the talents, the drive, and the passion to succeed. What we need to do now is to get out of their way — to tear down the roadblocks that hold back far too many women and girls.” 

Sen. Young is supporting the act “so that children everywhere can grow up to be productive, healthy adults."

Here’s everything you need to know about the Keeping Girls in School Act and why it’s needed.

What is the Keeping Girls in School Act?

The Keeping Girls in School Act aims to address barriers to education for girls globally. It sets out to do so by allocating USAID funds to countries where child marriage, female genital mutilation, and unplanned pregnancy put girls at risk of dropping out of school. 

The bill has already been endorsed by 50 international organizations including Save the Children, CARE USA, UNICEF, and more. 

When was the act introduced?

The bill was introduced in both the US Senate and House of Representatives on April 9, by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

Read More: 7 Barriers to Girls’ Education Around the World

How will the act ensure girls have access to education?

The bill would outline and bring attention to 14 key barriers that girls face in their pursuit of secondary education. Once these barriers are mapped out, the legislation would direct the US government to utilize its resources and partnerships with private institutions, NGOs, and federal agencies to create solutions that address the obstacles adolescent girls face. 

Under the Act, the US Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls must be reviewed and updated every five years to ensure that the US remains committed to empowering adolescent girls through education and training. Launched in March 2016, the strategy brings together four US government agencies to tackle barriers that keep adolescent girls from reaching their full potentials. 

Who will the Keeping Girls in School Act affect? 

There are approximately 130 million girls around the world who are not in school and only three in four complete their lower-secondary education. In low-income countries, just one in three girls will finish lower secondary school. 

Women who have completed their secondary education globally can expect to make almost twice as much income as women who only complete primary school. 

Universal secondary education could end child marriage, lift millions of women out of poverty, decrease child and mother mortality rates, and provide women and girls with the resources to live healthier, fuller lives.