Photo credits: Standard Chartered’s goal programme in Zambia
Tomorrow marks World Youth Skills Day and an important moment to reflect on how we are preparing the world’s young people – and especially young girls – to become the workforce and leaders of tomorrow.
While there is no doubt that the international community has rallied behind young people to promote increased educational opportunity, we are falling short when it comes to educational quality and equality.
Nearly two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women, and globally, more than 62 million adolescent girls are out of school. In emerging markets, more than 30 million primary-school-aged girls are not attending school. Sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt of this challenge with a staggering 18.2 million out-of-school girls of primary school age alone.
Compounding these challenges, there is growing concern around the risk of young people being left without the skills needed to thrive in a future economy defined by automation and ever-evolving technology. Current trends indicate that without increased investment, more than 800 million of the world’s 1.6 billion youths will be without the basic skills needed for employment by 2030 – approximately half of whom are girls.
With these challenges in mind, Standard Chartered is convening leaders in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 18th and 19th for the Beyond Girls Education Summit. The aim of the summit is to increase cross-sector understanding of best practices and opportunities to enhance economic equality and empowerment for girls, as well as to broker new partnerships in order to increase the number of young people reached by these efforts.
As one of the first companies to meaningfully engage in girls education, Standard Chartered’s Goal programme is helping to develop essential life skills among adolescent girls in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Empowering girls across these regions through sports-based development modules, Standard Chartered has reached over 285,000 girls in low-income communities from 2006 to 2016. The modules focus on communication, finances, health, and more, and are ultimately equipping girls with confidence and skills needed to achieve academic success and future livelihood.
At the upcoming summit, Standard Chartered seeks to take investment in girls to the next level. Payal Dalal, Head of Community Programmes at Standard Chartered, emphasized, “Investing in girls is an investment in the future of a community. High quality and skills-focused programmes not only empower girls and women to reach their fullest potential, but also have an intergenerational, multiplier effect on society. These investments result in healthier families and increased economic prosperity, while making critical gains towards gender equality.”
Standard Chartered’s recently published report, Girls’ Education – A rewarding investment, offers a clear case for private sector investment in girls’ education: with one of the highest rates of return, investing in girls’ education has the potential to unlock economic prosperity and improve health outcomes for generations to come. Each additional year of schooling for girls increases income earnings by 10% and boosts long-run growth by c0.6ppt per year. Further, with enhanced educational opportunities for girls and women, communities experience social benefits such as reduced child and maternal mortality rates and enhanced health and nutrition.
In order to realize these benefits, Standard Chartered is calling on the public and private sector to work together to develop and scale efforts that will ensure educational equality and economic empowerment for girls. Only through uniting our efforts, can we tackle the gender equality gap and ensure an inclusive future workforce that is prepared to take on the economy of tomorrow.
For more information on joining the efforts of Standard Chartered and improving education and economic opportunity for girls, please email Julia Kilgore at email@example.com.