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Activists mark International Women’s Day with bold push for girls’ education

‘Walk-ins’ in 107 cities in 12 countries make for the largest-ever lobby day for girls’ rights

NEW YORK — Today ONE activists took part in the largest ever lobby for girls’ rights. In 107 cities in 12 countries, including every U.S. state, Washington, D.C., and at the United Nations, activists organized 284 separate ‘walk-ins’ to meet with politicians and put girls’ education on the agenda. And ONE led a stunning global digital campaign that brought support from 130 countries.

Globally, 130 million girls are not in school and because poverty is sexist, girls in the poorest countries are less likely to receive an education than boys. This means a generation of adolescent girls is being denied the education they need to get a job, broaden their opportunities, and break the cycle of poverty. A girl with an education can change the world.

The ONE Campaign marked International Women’s Day with a globally coordinated push for girls’ education that included:

    ONE members in all 50 states walked-in to the local offices of all 100 U.S. senators, and to 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, delivering hand-written notes and an open letter. They joined ONE members walking-in to their leaders around the world, from London to Lagos. *PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE*
    ONE activists — including actors Robin Wright and Connie Britton, Caterpillar Foundation President Michele Sullivan, three Boko Haram survivors from Nigeria, and 20 area students —staged a walk-in at the United Nations in New York. They met with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in the UN General Assembly chamber, along with General Assembly President Peter Thompson of Fiji, and delivered the open letter. *PHOTOS AND B-ROLL ARE AVAILABLE*
    ONE launched #GirlsCount, a bold digital campaign to demonstrate the scale of the crisis and demand education for all girls. #GirlsCount features citizens from every walk of life joining forces by filming themselves counting a number between one and 130 million out loud – to create a film to represent every girl denied an education. Malala, Tom Brady, Sheryl Sandberg, Bono, Chelsea Handler, Charlize Theron, Andrew Zimmern, Tracee Ellis-Ross, David Oyelowo, and thousands of others already submitted videos. More than 130 countries were represented in the 6,500 videos and pictures that were submitted – one of the fastest growing UGC campaigns ever. *VIDEO ASSETS ARE AVAILABLE*
    ONE released a new policy report this week that exposes how educating a girl for a day costs less than a loaf of bread or a daily newspaper. Yet getting more girls in school could save more than a million lives and add more than $100 billion dollars a year to the global economy.
    More than 350,000 people have signed an open letter urging leaders to help every girl get an education.

Connie Britton, actress and UN Development Program goodwill ambassador, said: “With 130 million girls around the world denied access to education, we are left with generations of girls and women restricted from the opportunity to reach their greatest potential.  Which means we will never know these brilliant female actors, teachers, doctors, artists, scientists and leaders, and the impact they could have, simply because they were born girls instead of boys. That’s not good for the world. I am committed to fighting this inequality and have joined the count with the ONE Campaign to make sure every girl is given the opportunity to pursue her education.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer said: “130 million girls around the world are out of school. One of the challenges in effectively addressing this global crisis is conveying its staggering scale. 130 million girls are being denied the basic human right of an education – the domino effect of which none of us can afford to ignore. I joined the count at ONE.org choosing number five because that’s the age millions of girls around the world should be walking into a classroom for the first time.  Far too many of them will never get that chance, unless we demand world leaders act.”

The ONE Campaign’s Roxane Philson said: “It’s a global crisis that 130 million girls are not in school. It costs less than a loaf of bread to send a girl in one of the world’s poorest countries to school each day – a small investment that could save more than a million lives and add more than $100 billion dollars to the global economy every year. #GirlsCount is uniting people to make the scale of this crisis clear and to call on leaders to do more.