Activist, speaker, education rights advocate, human rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai turns 20 today.
In honor of her career as an advocate for women and girls’ education, we’ve rounded up 20 facts about girls education around the world. In the words of Malala, “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”
1. Upwards of 60 million girls worldwide are out of school, and more than half of those are never expected to go back. (UNESCO)
2. The more educated a female population is, the less likely child marriages become. When girls achieve primary education, that correlates to 14% fewer child marriages, and with secondary education the number jumps to over 60%. (UNESCO)
3. Education among women correlates to survival rates. According to CARE, a child born to a literate mother is way more likely — 50% more likely, in fact — to survive past the age of five.
4. There are 10 countries in which nine out of each 10 of the poorest women haven’t finished primary school. (UNESCO)
5. In Somalia, 95% of the poorest females aged 7-16 have never been to school. (UNESCO)
6. In Nigeria, there are over 5 million girls out of school. (UNESCO)
7. Education does great things for the economy when it is utilized. CARE reports that if all students in low-income countries could acquire low, basic reading skills, over 170 million people could in turn be lifted out of poverty.
8. If learning standards were raised and all children were given a basic education, growth in low-income countries could increase by 2% annually. (CARE)
9. Some countries across the world lose up to a billion dollars a year by failing to educate girls. (CARE)
10. Over a million deaths a decade can be attributed to a lack of education. (CARE)
11. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population is female. (UNESCO)
12. Getting just one extra year of education can earn a girl 20% more as an adult. (The World Bank)
13. With a secondary education, there would be 60% fewer pregnancies in girls under 17 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. (UNESCO)
14. If a child is born from an educated mother, that child will be two times as likely to also attend school. (CARE)
15. In low-income countries, there are almost 50 million children stunted by malnutrition. If all women had a primary education, over 1.5 million children would be saved from stunting from malnutrition. That would go up to 12 million children if all women had a secondary education. (UNESCO)
16. Getting girls into school is one of the most effective ways to prevent child marriages. (UNESCO)
17. Women in Sub-Saharan Africa with no education have, on average, 6.7 births. With a secondary education that number falls to 3.9. (UNESCO)
18. The more educated women are, the less of a pay gap there is. (UNESCO)
19. 45% of girls in Malawi with no education become pregnant. With education, that number drops to 4%. (CARE)
20. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, primary education for all women could reduce maternal deaths by 70%. (UNESCO)