The Commonwealth are committed to empowerment for girls and women and promoting equal rights for women across the world.
Gender equality and better education for girls are crucial when it comes to thinking about sustainable development, enabling women to:
- participate fully in all aspects of life in their community (social, political and economic)
- expand their opportunities
- fulfil their potential.
Unfortunately, the reality is that girls and women still miss out on many opportunities that exist for boys and men in virtually every country in the world. For example, for millions of girls, their chance to go to school is denied through early marriage – in Nepal, nearly half of all girls are married by the age of 18.
Some girls aren’t allowed a basic education, to play sports, attend sporting and musical events, drive a car, vote, employment, or to get paid the same amount of money as their male counterparts.
Does this sound fair to you?
If gender equality is so crucial to development, why is there still an imbalance the world over? And, what is the long-term impact for girls and women of some of these barriers?
To prompt and generate discussion amongst your students, you could ask them:
- What would happen if you weren’t allowed to go to school - why is it important to get an education?
- What are some of the reasons girls might not be allowed to go to school?
- Attitudes can be hard to change – do you think it is worthwhile campaigning for women’s rights?
- Can you think of any famous people that have campaigned for rights for girls and women?
- What would the world be like if we could improve rights for women?
To help you explore gender equality in more depth, we have a number of resources available to you. Explore themes of citizenship, identity, and human rights.
Examine issues related to identity, equality and diversity in Shakespeare’s plays and twenty first century life by exploring this theme from the Shakespeare Lives Pack written in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Watch the Commonwealth Class film about Maria Toorpakai Wazir who had to pretend to be a boy and move to a new country to follow her dreams to be a Squash champion.
Girls in Kenya face issues that can hamper their chances at school. Watch this film to see Emma, Head Girl from Bedford Academy travel to B.O. Kamuneru A.C.K. Secondary School in Kenya to find out more.