How many countries offer girls a free education?

In more than 100 countries, school is not free and many parents cannot afford the tuition or the cost of uniforms.


Faced with social and economic barriers, parents often chose to invest in their son’s, and not their daughter’s, education. Unsafe travel over long distances to and from school and the lack of separate latrines (outdoor toilets) for girls are other reasons why millions of girls are forced to stay out of school and denied an education. These factors also explain why girls drop out at much higher rates and at earlier ages, sometimes only completing two years of school; compared to a boy who is more likely to make it to secondary school and beyond.



The high rate of child marriage in many countries means many girls never have the opportunity to go to school or are forced to drop out of school at a young age.

Education is crucial for the empowerment and emancipation of girls and women, and the realization of all other human rights. Educating a girl has a transformational effect that changes communities and societies:

  • Education empowers girls by introducing new ways of thinking about traditions and issues, and challenges traditionally held gender roles.
  • Education helps a girl to respect herself and to be respected by others.
  • Education drastically reduces child marriage. On average, a girl with 7 years of education will marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children.
  • A girl who completes basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.
  • Knowledge and skills learned at school will be passed onto her parents and the community.
  • Education is essential for a strong economy. One extra year of school boosts a girl’s future wages by 10-20 percent.
  • Children born to educated mothers are two times more likely to survive past the age of 5.
  • Education fosters critical thinking skills, which are essential for effective leaders and democracy. More women are needed to solve global problems!

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