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Girls’ Education, Empowerment, and Transitions to Adulthood: The Case for a Shared Agenda

By: International Center for Research on Women, Ann Warner, Anju Malhotra, Allison Mcgonagle

Decades of empirical evidence and practical experience support the robust associations between women’s educational attainment and positive development outcomes. It is now conventional wisdom in development discourse that where education levels are higher among women, fertility rates are lower, family size
is smaller, and women’s health and economic status are stronger. There is even evidence to suggest that in settings where education is more gender equitable, economic growth is more robust. What is less understood is how the education of girls and young women translates into positive development outcomes. We argue that it is the healthier, safer transition of adolescent girls to adulthood and their empowerment during this process that are, in fact, the linchpins between education and improved outcomes at the individual, community and societal levels.

This paper makes a case for why leveraging education to facilitate girls’ transitions to healthy, safe and productive adulthood is the single most important development investment that can be made. We provide guidance on how we can build on past progress, forge more productive alliances and redouble our efforts to ensure that all girls in the developing world have the opportunity to obtain a quality, relevant education. In order to do this, development practice must shift to accommodate and facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration for girls’ healthy transitions to adulthood.

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Uploaded on: Aug 08, 2017
Year Published: 2012
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