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Malala Calls on G7 Leaders to Commit to Girls' Education

The G7 Summit kicks off Friday, and Malala Yousafzai wants to make sure G7 leaders have girls’ education on their minds.

On Wednesday, Yousafzai published an opinion piece in The Star calling on G7 leaders to keep girls at the centre of the G7 discussions.

"For far too long, G7 leaders have overlooked girls — a critical solution to many of the problems they try to solve at summit after summit. This year, this G7 must begin to reverse that trend," she wrote.

Take Action: Keep Crisis-Affected Girls in School

The education advocate is a member of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, which delivered a report to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday with 60 recommendations that would advance gender equality at this year’s G7 Summit.

One of the key recommendations is for leaders to improve access to 12 years of free, safe, and gender-responsive education for children in developing and conflict-ridden countries.

"I can think of no greater legacy for Canada’s G7 Summit than this," Yousafzai wrote.

Read More: This Woman Is Pushing Justin Trudeau to Prioritize Education for Girls in Crisis

Trudeau has said that he will be pushing for funding for girls’ education in crises at the G7 Summit and indicated that Canada will make a financial commitment toward this initiative.

"Gender equality must play a key role in creating lasting solutions to the challenges we face as a world — whether building economies that work for everyone, preparing for jobs of the future, fighting climate change, or advancing peace and security," he said in a statement. "Investing in girls’ education, especially in crisis situations, is a vital part of making that a reality."

Canada’s financial pledge has not yet been announced.

Read More: High-Profile Feminists Call for Change Ahead of This Week's G7 Summit

A number of civil society organizations are asking G7 leaders to contribute USD $1.3 billion over the next three years to girls’ education in crises, with many calling on Canada to commit to funding $500 million of that.

Last month, a group of NGOs presented the Liberal government with a detailed plan of how that investment would help send millions of the world's poorest girls to school.

More than 130 million girls are out of school around the world. Conflict remains a barrier to education for all children, but it greatly affects girls and women.

Read More: How Education Is Helping Malawi's Child Brides Bounce Back

In fact, girls are 90% more likely to be out of secondary school in areas of conflict than those living without violence, according to Malala Fund.

Extreme poverty and environmental disasters like long-lasting droughts are other examples of crises that affect girls’ access to education.

But it’s known that investing in girls’ education leads to improved public health, better mitigation of the effects of climate change, and quicker recovery from natural disasters, Yousafzai explained.

Read More: This Organisation in India Brings School to Kids — Wherever They Are

"Will our leaders recognize the power of millions of girls to grow economies, reduce conflict, and transform their communities if given access to 12 years of education?" she wrote. "For a safer, healthier and wealthier world for all of us, I hope the answer is yes."

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