Issue in Focus
Education is a human right. It has the power to save and improve the lives of women and girls, which leads to healthier families and stronger communities.
According to UNICEF, receiving an education makes girls less likely to marry young and more likely to lead healthy, productive lives. Educated girls earn higher incomes, participate in decisions that affect them, and build better futures for themselves and their families.
- Around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, including 34.3 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age.
- 66% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, 45% of countries have achieved gender parity in lower secondary education and 25% in upper secondary education.
- Of the world’s 781 million illiterate adults, two-thirds of them are women.
- Gender-equitable education systems can contribute to reductions in school-related gender-based violence and harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.
- An educated female population increases a country's productivity and fuels economic growth. Some countries lose more than US$1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys.
Zonta in Action
Investing in the education of women and girls yields high returns, such as breaking cycles of poverty, fostering economic growth and empowering women both in the home and workplace.
Zonta has a dedicated history of supporting women in education: We have provided more than US$12.8 million to thousands of women around the world through the Amelia Earhart Fellowship, Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, Women in Technology Scholarship and the Young Women in Public Affairs Award.
- The Amelia Earhart Fellowship expands opportunities for women pursuing advanced studies in the typically male-dominated fields of aerospace engineering and space sciences.
- The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship supports women pursuing undergraduate and master’s degrees in business management.
- The Women in Technology Scholarship encourages women to pursue education, career opportunities and leadership roles in technology and related fields.
- The Young Women in Public Affairs Award recognizes young women, ages 16-19, who demonstrate superior leadership skills and a commitment to public service and civic causes, and encourages them to continue their participation in public and political life.
In addition to its education programs, Zonta continually chooses international service projects that include the education of women and girls as key strategies.
- As part of its activities, the Ending Child Marriage project improves education access and supports interventions that encourage girls to enroll in school, strengthens education systems and supports interventions that keep girls in school and provides out-of-school girls with alternative learning opportunities.
- Let Us Learn Madagascar, an integrated education program, addresses education and gender inequity in Madagascar through approaches targeted toward adolescent girls.
- Eid bi Eid (Hand in Hand) uses vocational training as an intervention to increase women’s economic empowerment in Jordan.
Zonta International is supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which include ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Education is essential to a prosperous life, and we are proud of our continued efforts to fight for gender equity in education.