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Girls who receive a quality education have the power to stop climate change, strengthen the economy, and promote peace. To end extreme poverty, every girl must get a chance to learn. You can join us and take action on this issue here

Actress, activist, and Global Citizen Ambassador Rachel Brosnahan is showing just how fired up she is about girls’ education. 

The Emmy Award-winning star of the hit show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel urged world leaders to ensure crisis-affected girls and women can learn on Wednesday night, in the opening speech of a celebration for the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

Co-hosted by the Government of Ireland, the event highlighted Global Citizen’s #SheIsEqual campaign and invited leaders to commit to ending gender inequality.

Take Action: Keep Crisis-Affected Girls in School

Brosnahan shared her recent experience visiting Venezuelan refugees in Peru. In February, Brosnahan joined Global Citizen to meet with young children and resilient women in the border town of Tumbes whose lives were devastated in the aftermath of an El Niño event in 2017, and who fled Venezuela’s current humanitarian crisis (more than 3 million people have fled violence, poverty, and hunger in the country since 2015). 

“Women are everyday heroes — so many do extraordinary things each day to make life a little better for their families, their communities, their countries, and the world,” Brosnahan said.

Read More: Rachel Brosnahan Used Her Emmy Speech to Deliver an Important Message: Vote!

She remembered two women in particular: a mother and grandmother of two young children named Evans and Kauri, who are encouraging the girls in their family to follow their dreams and prioritize education. Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a global fund set up to deliver education in emergencies, is supporting UNESCO to rebuild schools that were destroyed by mudslides in their community.

Graham Lang, education senior adviser at ECW, said on Wednesday that the organization needs more funds — and fast — to stand up for girls.

Brosnahan introduced a video by Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, and asked the Irish government to follow through with the €250 million commitment to girls education that was made on stage at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival. In the video, Coveney noted the country’s international development policy “A Better World,” launched in February. Gender equality and women’s empowerment make up one of its top four priorities, “because, as everyone in this room knows, when women succeed, we all succeed,” Coveney said. 

Esther Ngemba, a former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo also took the stage to deliver a speech on how she’s learned from experience that education is the only solution to end war. Brenda Madumise-Pajibo, who helped launch South Africa’s biggest citizen movement #TotalShutdown in 2018 to fight against gender-based violence, reminded attendees how important it is to protect women and girls.

There are 420 million children living in conflict-affected areas around the world, according to Save the Children, and 130 million of them are girls. Girls living in conflict-affected areas end up suffering the most –– they are 90% more likely to miss secondary school and lose out on a chance to reach their full potential. Young refugee girls are especially vulnerable when they lack opportunities to learn. Dropping out of school leads to higher rates of child marriage, exploitation, and trafficking. 

“Because women are limited only by the possibility of what they can achieve, it is critical we empower them as much as we can,” Brosnahan said.  

“And central to that is the need to educate every girl, everywhere, and make sure every woman has the full support of her government, of big businesses, and of institutions in addition to community support to reach her full potential.” 


Defeat Poverty

Rachel Brosnahan Wants Us to Put Girls' Education First

By Erica Sánchez  and  Leah Rodriguez