Linking girls’ education with healthier, safer transitions to adulthood
Governments, civil society and the private sector recognise that education can be a transformative force for individuals as well as societies. Decades of research support the associations between women’s educational attainment and improved maternal health, child nutrition, economic growth and gender equality. Adolescent girls are the link between education and these positive outcomes. When girls stay in school through their adolescence, they delay marriage and pregnancy, and they acquire the skills and information needed to be healthy and productive adults.
However, adolescent girls are still underserved by the field of international development, including the education and population and reproductive health sectors. Despite their shared long-term vision of individual empowerment and collective social and economic development, the strategies used by these sectors are frequently disjointed. The education sector has primarily focused on improving access to school, and less on retention and quality of education that will make it safe and relevant to girls and their families. The population and reproductive health sector has developed “girl-friendly” strategies to provide girls with information and resources, but has not worked much through the educational system.