For millions of refugee girls, education is out of reach. Despite substantial increases in access to girls’ education around the world over the last two decades, refugee girls remain left behind.
In countries affected by conflict, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys. Girls make up half of the 7.4 million school-age refugees, yet face disproportionate challenges in accessing and sustaining their education. Among all refugee children, only 61 percent are enrolled in primary school and 23 percent are enrolled in secondary school. Notably, refugee girls are only half as likely to be enrolled in secondary school as boys.
Limited access to education further perpetuates the challenges and vulnerabilities that displaced girls face. The isolation of being out of school can harm girls who’ve experienced trauma during their displacement as they may be more vulnerable to trafficking or early marriage. Without school, refugee girls may find it more difficult to heal, build hope, and find safety.
The benefits of investing in education for all girls – including refugees and those who are forcibly displaced – transcends the individual. If refugee girls have access to an education, their families and communities are more likely to improve their social and economic position. The further girls progress with their schooling, the more they develop leadership skills, become income generators, and build self-reliance. These are personal qualities that will help their communities flourish as they strive to adapt to their host countries or as they prepare to return to their home countries.