To Educate a Girl, a documentary film supported by the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), introduces a pressing global issue: the struggles girls around the world face daily to get an education. To Educate a Girl looks at just a few children and youth in two countries, Uganda and Nepal, but the issue is present worldwide.
To facilitate the use of the film by the educators in the United States and globally, UNGEI partnered with the United States Fund for UNICEF to develop a viewing guide.
This standards-based Viewing Guide helps educators facilitate thought-provoking and meaningful dialogue and provides activities for students to learn about the disparity in education for boys and girls and take action to eliminate these disparities.
The resource guide, which now forms part of TeachUNICEF portfolio, helps educators facilitate thought-provoking and meaningful dialogue and provides activities for students to learn about the disparity in education for boys and girls and take action to eliminate these disparities. Two versions of the guide are available and are aimed at children aged between 6 and 8 and 9 and 12. TeachUNICEF is a portfolio of global education teacher resources designed and collected by the U.S. Fund for UNICEFs Education Department for teachers, afterschool instructors, and parents. TeachUNICEF resources cover grades PK-12, are interdisciplinary (social studies, science, math, English/language arts, foreign/world languages), and align with national standards. The units, lesson plans, stories, videos and multimedia cover topics ranging from the Millennium Development Goals to water and sanitation. All TeachUNICEF resources can be downloaded for free.
The Viewing Guide features background information related to girls education and gender equality and education, which educators can incorporate in their lessons plans and other activities. lso equips educators with a range of discussion questions, and a variety of interdisciplinary activities to help guide discussion and learning.
These rich materials encourage the exploration of critical global issues that impact children worldwide, and offer interested children and young people an opportunity to take action by utilizing service tips and participating in U.S. Fund for UNICEF sponsored activities.
The United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) is a partnership of organizations committed to narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education. It also seeks to ensure that, by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to free, quality education. UNGEI was launched in April 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, by then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in response to a troubling reality: Of the millions of children worldwide who were not in school, more than half were girls a reality that continues today. Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan accepted the position of Honorary Global Chair of UNGEI in July 2009. For more information on UNGEI visit: www.ungei.org
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The worlds largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
What is TeachUNICEF
TeachUNICEF is a portfolio of global education teacher resources designed and collected by the U.S. Fund for UNICEFs Education Department for teachers, afterschool instructors, and parents. The units, lesson plans, stories, videos and multimedia cover topics ranging from the Millennium Development Goals to poverty and water and sanitation. read more
About the filmmakers
Prior to collaborating on To Educate a Girl, Frederick Rendina produced and directed for A&E, the Biography Channel, the Travel Channel, PBSs Wide Angle series and National Geographic On Assignment, and while based in Dakar, Senegal, field-produced for Associated Press Television News. His documentary and narrative films have also appeared on PBS, RAI-TV-Italy, NHK-TV Japan, and on Northwest Airlines as part of the Independent Feature Projects Independents-in-Flight series. Films include: Turning the Tide: Tsunami Volunteers, Let Good the Good Times Roll Again, Utopia, A Gang for Good, After the Gun, Kabi and Secrets of the Soul. Among others, Rendina has received the following Grants and Awards: National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Tony Cox Screenwriting Award, Panavision New Filmmaker, Experimental Television Center, Audience Award, Independent Images Award, Bronze Apple Award.
Oren Rudavsky is the recent recipient of a production grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for The Zionist Idea. He is the producer of media for the Russian Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center being built in Moscow. Rudavsky just finished producing a series of documentaries for the Bloomberg television series, Risk Takers. In 2009 he was Producer/Writer of the two part series Time for School 3, for the PBS series Wide Angle. He was the recipient in 2008 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts filmmaker awards, three National Endowment for the Humanities grants, several New York State Council for the Arts awards, and many others. His film A Life Apart: Hasidism in America was short-listed for the Academy Awards and his film Hiding and Seeking was nominated for an Independent Spirit award. He completed his first fiction feature as Producer/Writer/Director on The Treatment in 2006. The film premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Film, Made in New York. Orens producing career stretches back to stints on Saturday Night Live, The Real World and Tales from the Darkside.
To Educate a Girl website: http://www.toeducateagirl.com
Maritza Ascencios, from the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) Media Center, told MediaGlobal, Educating girls is a surefire way to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutritional status and health, reduce poverty, and wipe out HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
Presently, girls are under-represented in school enrollment and attendance in developing countries.
According to the World Bank, girls currently represent 48 percent of primary school enrollment and boys represent 52 percent. Even though this gender gap has decreased in the last few decades, girls still account for 55 percent of all out-of-school childrenmeaning that, on average, for every 100 boys out-of-school, there are 122 girls. In many developing countries, the disparity is even greater. For example, in Yemen the statistic is 270 girls for every 100 boys and in India it is 426 girls for every 100 boys, according to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The reasons that girls are kept away from school are varied.
Poverty is a major contributor. If a family has limited funds and has to be selective on whom to send to school, more often than not, it is going to be the boys.
Adverse cultural practices also contribute to this occurrence, because girls are more likely to stay home and be taught to be housewives. Primary education for them is not always seen as necessary.
Lastly, if anyone is sick in the family or chores needs to be done at home, it is more likely that the girls will be the ones to stay away from school and assist with whatever tasks need to be done.
Girls and women are often shackled by gender roles and outdated traditions, with male privilege and entitlement ensuring that when educational opportunities are limited, boys will take available classroom space. Gender roles and traditions that keep girls from school contribute an additional barrier to universal education: illiterate mothers, continues Ascencios, When we ensure that children have access to a rights-based, quality education that is rooted in gender equality, we create a ripple effect of opportunity that impacts generations to come.
The world recognized the necessity for universal education during the formation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Most developing countries did not reach the MDG on universal education set to be accomplished by 2005, but they are on the right track toward achieving the goal by 2015. In order to meet the next target, however, developing countries need to focus more on improving female enrollment and attendance of secondary and tertiary education as well as continuing efforts to improved girls access to primary education.
The global community is taking action against the disparity of girls education, with the establishment of the UN Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI).
UNGEI was launched in 2000 by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to assist developing countries in fulfilling their dedication toward providing universal education and promoting gender equality, the second and third MDGs.
It is a partnership between multiple international organizations, including all in the UN system, governments, donor countries, non-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, and communities and families. It is the flagship for the Education for All movement. All of these agents work together to facilitate the coordination of girls education strategies at the country level. They work at removing barriers toward schooling for girls, and reenforce the importance of investing in girls future, for the benefit of the country.
UNGEIs goal is to create a world where all girls and boys are empowered through quality education to realize their full potential and contribute to a transforming society where gender equality becomes a reality.
UNGEI is working at accelerating action toward girls education in order to reach the related MDGs by 2015, so that girls and women can actively and knowledgeably interact in the global community.
Olivia Lawe-Davies, a communications officer at the World Health Organization, told MediaGlobal, We know that increasing access to education opportunities for girls can make an important contribution to short- and long-term [outcomes] for the girl, families, and broader society.
The benefits of providing girls with education can be seen beyond personal welfare and development and well beyond their childhood.
First, educated women are more likely to seek medical care for themselves and their families, immunize their children, and provide proper nutrition and sanitation at home. These practices will reduce both child and maternal mortality and ensure healthier and well-nourished families and communities.
Second, educated women are more likely to stay in school longer, which will delay when and how many children they have. It is estimated that one year of female schooling would reduce fertility by ten percent. Because educated women get pregnant later in life, their babies will be healthier, and they will know how to properly care for them.
Third, educated women are more knowledgeable, and therefore, will have a better grasp on their domestic role and share household duties more evenly with their spouse. They will have access to higher-paying jobs, which will impact their families finances as well as contribute to their national economy. They are also more likely to participate in political and social decision-making.
Lastly, educated women are less likely to be vulnerable toward sexual abuse or exploitation, which will protect them against sexually-transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS.
All of these occurrences are imperative to global development, and they can be accomplished by educating girls.
An educated mother is more likely to have educated children, both boys and girls, which help ensures that universal education and gender equality will continue on through the generations.