Female students in Nigeria school AFP/Getty Images

Closing the Education Gender Gap

On this International Day of the Girl, the number of girls not attending school, despite having fallen by 40% since 2000, still stands at 130 million. This represents both a moral and a practical failing, because girls are not receiving the education they deserve, and businesses are struggling to find workers with the skills they need.

WASHINGTON, DC – Completing primary school in Niger was never a certainty for Aishetu Mahmoudu Hama, given all the obstacles that stood in her way. “It was hard to study,” she recalls. “We sat on the ground – sometimes on a mat, sometimes just in the dirt.”

But Aishetu persevered, and she is now a 23-year-old university student. Aishetu knows that without school, her life chances would likely be confined to herding, farming, getting married, and having a lot of children. There simply would be no other opportunities for her to pursue.

Like the female teachers who inspired her to learn, Aishetu wants to be a role model to younger girls and her own siblings. She hopes that her story will motivate them to complete their education, too.

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