Girls' education

Girls' education

Education has the power to transform girls’ lives around the world. Education Development Trust works to strengthen systems to improve learning outcomes and empower girls through quality teaching and learning.

Why girls’ education matters

At Education Development Trust, we know that girls’ education is one of the key challenges of our times – and one of the most effective investments governments can make.

Education offers marginalised girls a chance to change their lives for the better, but educating girls benefits everyone. Schooling is critical to tackling harmful gender norms and unlocking girls’ potential to lead more fulfilling lives, to fully contribute to the economies and societies in which they live, and to become leaders in their communities. Educated girls tend to marry later and to earn more as adults, better enabling them to provide for their families. They also have lower rates of maternal and infant mortality – and their children tend to be healthier. What’s more, improving the quality of education available to girls benefits all students – including boys.

In many places around the world, girls are at a profound disadvantage. Longstanding biases and norms mean they are less likely to access education or career opportunities, or to become leaders in their countries or communities – and lack of access to education increases their risk of early marriage, teen pregnancy, and gender-based violence. Girls also face gendered barriers to learning: in some contexts, this means that girls’ learning is falling behind that of boys. This is especially the case where gender intersects with other forms of marginalisation, such as extreme poverty, remote communities, the effects of crisis or conflict, and living with disabilities.

Barriers can exist at various levels of the education system and wider society. Curricula can reinforce gender stereotypes in what children learn about, while teacher training, recruitment and career progression processes often reinforce or sustain gender biases. Meanwhile, system incentives are often not geared towards ensuring that pupils (both girls and boys) learn foundational skills, and cultures within schools can reinforce norms which limit girls’ learning, participation and aspirations. Girls often also face additional barriers outside school – for example, gender-based violence, low aspirations for girls in their community, increased domestic responsibilities, and limited support for their learning at home.

Who we are and our approach

Our passion for girls’ education is matched by our experience and expertise, with a deep evidence base and extensive delivery of programmes that benefit girls across the world.

We are a trusted partner of governments and organisations seeking to improve girls’ learning, with experience of delivering education programmes at scale. Our innovative, evidence-based and holistic approaches enable us to successfully deliver at system level and empower key stakeholders to create lasting change.  

Our experience shows us that to maximise the return on investment in girls’ education, we need a combination of general interventions to increase the quality of teaching and learning for all children and girl-specific interventions. Our approach strengthens the entire system by using evidence to  diagnose barriers to girls’ learning and develop, deliver and evaluate gender-responsive solutions.

How we work in girls’ education

Barriers to girls’ learning can be complex: our evidence-based approaches ensure the best results for the girls we work with and for. We draw on our portfolio of research and generate, disseminate and apply evidence on what works in ensuring girls’ learning. We have a wealth of research, consultancy and delivery experience and expertise in girls’ learning, giving us a strong understanding of the challenges and how to overcome them, and we invest in public research to gain a stronger understanding of what works and contribute to the global evidence base. In addition, we closely monitor and evaluate our own work and programmes to understand the elements of programming that are most effective and enable the most effective approaches to be scaled. We also share this evidence of what works and use data to inform decision-making at all levels, and to help our partners to target resources and develop and scale good practices.

Our model for girls’ education focuses on five key areas: supporting gender-responsive systems, data for decision-making, quality pedagogy for learning and equity, family and community engagement and supporting positive gender perspectives.