Fiona O’Donnell MP has hosted a reception to celebrate the progress made in improving girls’ access to education, and to share strategies for removing the remaining barriers so that every girl worldwide can realise her right to an education.
The Westminster event, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global Education for All, was addressed by Gillian Joseph, Sky News Presenter and Ambassador for the ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign, and brought together a range of politicians, charities and young campaigners.
It provided an opportunity to discuss the important progress that has been made on girls’ education in recent years, but also to focus on the huge disadvantage that girls continue to experience around the world.
Access to education has been an important area of work for Ms O’Donnell as a member of the Commons International Development Committee, and she has been working with local children on the issue. In fact, the county’s schools have been national leaders in their support for the Send my Friend to School campaign which aims to ensure that world leaders meet their commitment for all children to have access to education by 2015.
Ms O’Donnell said: “The high level of interest in access to education shown by children and young people in East Lothian tells me that it is an issue many here care deeply about. Educating girls is vital if we are to achieve all of our development goals such as eradicating poverty, improving health and tackling inequality.
“Narrowing the gender gap in primary school attendance has been a major focus of the Millennium Development Goals and significant progress has been made. The story of Malala Yousafzai offers a stark reminder of the disadvantages that girls continue to experience around the world, with 65 million currently remaining out of primary and lower secondary education.
“Global leaders need to focus on ensuring that all girls are able to access primary education, and also benefit from a secondary education. Only then will they be equipped with the skills necessary to fulfil their potential. I hope that schools in East Lothian will continue to focus on this issue by supporting the Send my Friend to School campaign and other access to education initiatives.”