We celebrated International Women’s Day on Wednesday throughout the GDST (https://storify.com/GDST/international-women-s-day-across-the-gdst) and by raising money for FORWARD UK last night at the wonderful BHHS fashion show organised by the Sixth Form. IWD is an important event to mark for women and girls in our schools: while we have access to everything a good education can provide, girls continue to be among the most discriminated against and excluded in the world. One in five adolescent girls around the world is denied their right to an education by the daily realities of poverty, conflict and discrimination. Globally:

  • 15 million girls will never have the opportunity to learn to read and write in primary school
  • 5 million girls marry before the age of 18 each year – the equivalent of one every 2 seconds
  • 41,000 girls are forced into marriage every day
  • Some child brides are as young as 8 years old when they are married
  • Pregnancy and childbirth is a leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries.

Every day, girls are taken out of school and forced into work or marriage where they risk isolation and abuse. Missing out on school can mark the end of a girl being able to choose her own future. Plan UK’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign is campaigning to see a world in which girls can realise their rights by accessing a safe and fulfilling education, living a life free from violence and being heard.

This organisation works with girls and their communities to eliminate all the barriers that stand in the way of gender equality – such as child marriage, violence in and around schools, poor sexual and reproductive health and rights, and economic insecurity. They work closely with communities, young activists and government officials around the world.

I would urge everyone to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 by taking a look at what this campaign is doing and, hopefully, getting involved in some way.