Gender Equality

Bridge believes that girls should have the same opportunities as boys. Sadly, they face many more barriers. Empowering and supporting girls to succeed in the classroom and fulfil their potential in life is essential. Families, communities, and nations need educated girls to prosper and grow.

Bridge Nigeria is empowering a new generation of confident, successful girls. If you’re an 11-year-old girl living in one of the world’s most marginalised communities, you face less access to education than your brother, a greater likelihood of economic and social marginalisation, the prospect of forced marriage, early pregnancy, and increased maternal mortality. Being a young girl in many communities can be the most difficult hand to be dealt.

Educated girls are healthier, have the skills to make choices about their own future and can lift themselves, their community and even their county out of poverty. For instance, a percentage point increase in girls’ education boosts GDP by 0.3 percentage points and raises annual GDP growth rates by 0.2 percentage points. Again, one extra year of education for girls increases their wages by between 10-20%. By educating girls we change the future of entire communities as women reinvest 90% of their income in their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men.

Bridge Nigeria significantly improves learning outcomes for girls. In the national common entrance exam in 2020, Bridge’s best performing female pupil, Dawodu Anuoluwapelumi, scored an impressive 186 marks out of 200. Overall, there was an increase of 87% in the number of girls sitting the national common entrance exam with Bridge Nigeria in 2020 from the previous year.

Mainstreaming women empowerment principles

While the pandemic has accelerated digital platforms for learning, earning, and connecting, some 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 still do not have internet access at home and girls are more likely to be cut off, according to UNICEF. Reports show that more boys than girls go on to have science careers, in addition to the increase in the number of out-of-school girls aged 5-14 years in Nigeria, which numbered about 10.5 million (UNICEF). Advocacy for girls’ education in Nigeria needs attention and remedial action, with specific programs instituted to reverse the gap in girl-child education, engendered by traditional cultural and religious prejudices.

The United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles is a good way to show our focus. Formulated by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, the “Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles offering guidance to organisations on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community.” The UN WEPs are “informed by international labour and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that organisations have a stake in, and a responsibility for, gender equality and women’s empowerment.” This should be automatically embedded into all organisations and societal cultures but until it is, the principles offer a good guide.

Promoting gender equality in education

Gender equality in schools

Equality of educational opportunity and accountability