Solving the Educational Gender Gap Requires Unconventional Solutions

As the global community continues to develop ways to help young women receive an education, it is important to remember that barriers exist that may not be readily apparent. While many activists have focused on the cultural and institutional barriers to female students, experts have increasingly begun looking at the structural issues that prevent girls from receiving an education. Indeed, even in countries where leaders have begun trying to solve educational inequality, these “hidden” barriers have prevented change.

While changing the cultural norms regarding gender equality remains a vital part of the international community’s mission, revealing and eliminating structural barriers has become equally significant. Examples include schools without separate bathrooms for both sexes, problems with accessing clean water, and a lack of family support, all issues that disproportionately affect female students. In response, nonprofit organizations and other education-focused efforts have begun programs that provide clean water at school for students to bring home, funds expressly dedicated to female students, and even support for grandparents in order to ease familial obligations. Furthermore, while the international community often approaches these problems as a single global issue, current efforts are increasingly turning to country-by-country efforts that seek to find customized solutions for every barrier to female education.

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