Better and prolonged education can bring down high rates of illiteracy, sexual abuse and early marriage among girls.
When Anoja Wijeyesekera, an aid worker with the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, received her new assignment in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan back in 1997, her appointment letter arrived with a "survival manual" and chilling instructions: write your last will before leaving home.
A decade ago, less than a third of school-aged girls in Niger were in class. Today, though significant cultural and religious opposition remains, nearly two-thirds of girls are enrolled in school.
Bangladesh, often cited as a model of progress in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), appears to be sliding backwards when it comes to dealing with violence against women (VAW).
Social activists in Nepal agree that the one reason why this impoverished country will miss the gender-linked Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations is the persistence of child marriage.
The deafening din of the lunch gong is sweet music to the 200-odd tribal girls rushing down the stairway, clutching stainless steel plates and tumblers.
Samina Afridi, a lecturer at the University of Peshawar, regrets that down history the leaders of the Pashtun (also Pakhtun) tribes have conspired to keep them away from education and literacy. The Taliban are only the latest example.
Patricia Kollie should be at school today but instead she is at home in Gbarnga, Liberia, pounding a pile of cassava leaves in a wooden mortar. Her entire body is slightly swollen. Her dress fits a little too snug at the stomach.
On a wall in the Rio conference centre is an unusual, brightly coloured tree. It is made of sticky notes, arranged so that the tree's branches extend down and out. On these notes, delegates passing by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts (WAGGGS
) have been asked to write down the futures they envision.