Today, on International Women’s Day 2017, there are 130 million girls around the world who are out of school. This is unacceptable.
The importance of girls’ education is undeniable. Without quality education, the consequences for girls can be devastating. In many countries, girls without an education are more likely to become child brides, more vulnerable to infectious diseases like HIV and more likely to die young.
To ring the alarm for the global crisis of girls’ education, we’re going to make the world pay attention to these girls by counting them. One by one, out loud, all the way to 130 million. One number for every girl denied an education.
Shot in the head when she was just 15 by the Taliban for defying their beliefs about girls not needing an education, she has not stopped fighting for the cause since. Whilst anyone would be forgiven for letting this vile act of aggression deter them from speaking out again, Malala has used the experience to galvanise an entire movement for girls’ rights around the world and we couldn’t be happier to have her support for our #GirlsCount campaign.
H.E Dr. Joyce Banda
It’s amazing to have a video of support for the #GirlsCount campaign from Joyce Banda, who made history becoming Malawi’s first female president, and was only the second woman to lead a country in Africa. Not only is she an incredible example of female achievement, she also has a track record of fighting for women’s rights around the world as a founder of the National Association of Business Women, a group that lends start-up cash to small-scale traders.
YES. Strong #GirlsCount video from Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, activist, and member of ONE’s Africa Policy Advisory Board, Angélique Kidjo! Ms. Kidjo also travels the world as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, where she raises awareness about girls’ education to help eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education. She is also the co-founder of the Batonga Foundation, which gives scholarship to girls in Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali and Sierra Leone. On top of all that, the Guardian has listed Angélique as one of its Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World. Kidjo was also the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa” by Forbes magazine.
Sheryl Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, the author of best-selling book for women in business, Lean In (which is now its own nonprofit), and is also on ONE’s board of directors! We’re so excited to have her support for the #GirlsCount campaign.
“Women are economic game changers.” YES, Christine Lagarde! Christine is a French lawyer and politician who has been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since 2011!
One of Nigeria’s most well-known artists, Waje has been an incredible supporter of ONE’s #PovertyisSexist and #MakeNaijaStronger campaigns. When meeting with political representatives, ONE members, and business leaders alike, Waje always has a strong message of empowerment to share and we’re so glad she’s supporting the #GirlsCount campaign this International Women’s Day!
A huge advocate for ONE’s work in Canada, Sangita has not only submitted her #GirlsCount video, letting world leaders know that “educated girls grow into empowered women”, she’s also written an article outlining what Canadians can do this International Women’s Day to fight extreme poverty!
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Internationally recognised development economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served as Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister—the first woman to hold either post. And now she’s adding her voice to the #GirlsCount campaign! (She’s also got some great advice for young women on how to get ahead!)
The brilliant Channel 4 broadcaster Cathy Newman has also joined the fight for girls’ education and added her video to the #GirlsCount campaign! The first ever female co-presenter of Channel 4 News, Cathy is known and admired for her straight talking and no-nonsense approach, so we’re incredibly grateful for her strong words of support for girls and women across the globe this International Women’s Day.
We’re so grateful to hear these inspiring words about girls’ education from one of Nigeria’s most respected actresses and philanthropists, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde: “Because education is power.” Not only has Omatola joined the #GirlsCount campaign, she’s been a long time ONE supporter and was a big part of the #PovertyisSexist music video, Strong Girl, in 2015!
Tracee Ellis Ross
A powerful advocate for girls and women, and another #PovertyisSexist letter signer, we happy to share Tracee Ellis Ross’ #GirlsCount video this International Women’s Day calling for support of girls’ education!
A fierce health campaigner for HIV/AIDS eradication and a #PovertyisSexist letter signer in 2015, Charlize Theron has joined the fight for girls’ education by adding her #GirlsCount video to the Girls Count website.