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Lets make educating the worlds rural women a priority - Sarah Brown

Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 7 Mar 2012 05:20 GMT
Author: Sarah Brown
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Sarah Brown is global patron of the White Ribbon Campaign and author of Behind the Black Door, a personal memoir about life at 10 Downing Street in London. The opinions expressed are her own.

As the world prepares to mark International Women’s Day, a spotlight is focused on how we can improve the lives of a group that is often overlooked and invisible – women and girls who live in rural areas – we must ensure that education appears high on the list of solutions.

Educating girls and young women in rural communities is the surest way to break the cycle of poverty and famine.

Women and girls who live in rural areas are often uneducated and have few choices in life, apart from toiling in the fields, marrying as teens and caring for their children. In fact, girls in rural communities are among those at greatest risk of missing out on education.

When nearly 200 global leaders signed the Millennium Declaration in 2000, the world made a promise that, by 2015, every child would receive a primary education.

With just three years remaining before the 2015 deadline, the United Nations (U.N.) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of providing every child with an opportunity to receive a primary school education is still achievable. However, we will not reach the goal unless we act now to help those who are hardest to reach.

Women everywhere whose lives have been enriched by the opportunities that education affords must make it a priority to ensure that even those girls who live in the most remote, poverty-stricken communities receive primary schooling.

As activists and women leaders from around the world gather in New York for this year’s International Women’s Day events, let us reaffirm our commitment to reaching the MDG on education.

Every child – every girl – deserves a primary education, and for the world to keep the promise made to them. As the Tanzanian proverb says, “We must lift as we climb.”

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