COVID-19 has left millions of girls out of school around the globe— over 743 million to be exact. This is a pressing issue, as prior to COVID, 132 million girls worldwide were already not enrolled in school, and were not receiving an education. Keeping a girl in school significantly decreases the likelihood of her becoming a child bride, and it elevates her status in society to protect her from violence.

Similarly, adolescent girls and women are significantly underrepresented in political affairs (only 24.5% of leaders), despite making up over half the world’s population. At this rate, it will take over a hundred years to achieve full gender equality in the political realm. It’s been proven that including women in politics and decision making decreases corruption, enhances political stability, and promotes higher living standards in sectors like education and healthcare.

The Girls LEAD Act will directly tackle this issue, and promote girls’ place in school and democracy, by supporting girl-led and girl-focused civil society organizations with funding and technical assistance overseas and at home. I strongly encourage readers to contact their congressional leaders to support this bill, because supporting and improving the lives of girls around the world improves all of society. You can find out how at www.borgenproject.org/action-center/.

Leila Naim

Aldie

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