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'Girl Rising': Ending Gender Disparities in Education and Tech Access Is Key to Global Prosperity

67 million girls under the age of 15 are not in school each day. Eliminating the obstacles to that can have a multiplier effect on social change.

Every morning, students around the world wake up and go to school. However, millions of children face tremendous barriers each day that prevent them from getting what many in the U.S. take for granted—an education. The majority of these children are disadvantaged girls who are challenging the social norms of their families, their communities, and their nations that have deterred them from receiving an education.

67 million girls under the age of 15 are not in school each day. Research shows that when more girls attend school and stay, there is a highly positive impact on their families, communities and economies. Yet, around the world, millions of girls face barriers to education, such as early and forced marriage, domestic slavery, sex trafficking, gender violence and discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, and school fees. Eliminating these obstacles can have a multiplier effect on social change—increasing girls' future wages, reducing infant mortality, creating more transparent businesses, increasing a country's GDP, and leading to faster economic growth.

The inspirational film Girl Rising is bringing this issue to light. The film, which premiered on March 7th, sends a powerful message about the importance of educating girls. It tells the story of nine girls who fought to attend school in spite of severe barriers like poverty, culture, and forced labor. The film was released by 10x10, a global action campaign for girls' education that uses the power of storytelling and leverages strategic partnerships to deliver a simple, vital truth: educate girls and you will change the world. Intel is working closely with 10x10, along with a diverse group of journalists, filmmakers, development agencies, NGOs, multilateral organizations, the private sector, and concerned citizens, who aim to provide a platform for this message and to take action for this cause.

Getting an independent film and its message in front of a critical mass is always a challenge, but "Girl Rising" found an innovative technological solution. The filmmakers and their strategic partners joined with Gathr, a cutting-edge theatrical on-demand platform that puts the power to screen a movie in the public's hands. At Intel, our programs focus on empowering and educating girls and women with technology tools, resources, and opportunities that can help them transform their lives, so we're thrilled to see technology work as an accelerator and amplifier through this movement.

But access to technology, like access to education, is not equal worldwide. In particular, a recent Intel study titled, "Women and the Web," showed that 23 percent fewer women than men are online in developing countries, and in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, that number soars to nearly 45 percent. The research concluded that when women do have the opportunity to access the internet, there are remarkable benefits at the individual, commercial, and national level. The study found that 30 percent of the women we surveyed used the internet to earn more income, 80 percent used internet to improve their education, and 85 percent said that the Internet provided them with more freedom. Doubling the number of women online in developing countries would produce massive economic benefits, such as an additional $13-18 billion USD in annual GDPs in developing countries.

Clearly we still have a ways to go in addressing these disparities in education and technology for women and girls, but there is no doubt that investing in this cause is one of the most effective, high-yield ventures for social and economic progress around the world. Supporting the movement to give girls the opportunity of education is the first step toward this revolutionary change.

More information about "Girl Rising" is available at here. There you can learn both how to find a "Girl Rising" screening near you and how to captain one yourself by requesting a screening in your community.

Click here to add attending or hosting a "Girl Rising" screening to your GOOD "to-do" list.

Shelly Esque is a vice president at Intel Corporation, global director of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group, and president of the Intel Foundation

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