Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton has announced a $600 million effort to help girls around the world enroll in secondary schools.
She unveiled the plan Wednesday at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York. She said that when girls have equal access to quality education in primary and secondary schools, they help break the cycle of poverty and spur economic growth.
The global initiative has 30 partners and will be led by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who originated the idea. The U.S., British and Nepalese governments will work with private sector organizations to reach 14 million disadvantaged girls, ages 11 to 16, over the next five years. Most of them are in sub-Saharan Africa and southwestern Asia.
The foundation, created by former president Bill Clinton, notes that in sub-Saharan Africa, 1.5 million fewer girls than boys attend secondary schools.
The program aims to improve the quality, safety and security for girls at schools worldwide.
Philanthropists and NGOs have focused their attention on girls' education, especially after the 2012 attack on Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating education for women. The kidnapping of more than 200 young girls from a school in Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram raised concerns about girls' safety at schools.