CFUW Celebrates Achievements and Pushes for Ongoing Progress in Education on the International Day of the Girl Child

OTTAWA, October 11, 2013 – The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) invites all Canadians to join in celebrating the second annual International Day of the Girl Child this Friday October 11th. This year, the United Nations theme, “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, encourages us to reflect on the progress Canada has made in this area and envision where improvements can continue to be made. It reminds us that millions of girls are denied the basic right to attend primary and secondary school in many countries.

“The present condition of education for girls sets the stage for the future condition of humanity,” said Susan Murphy, President of CFUW. “We must celebrate what we have been able to achieve in education for girls in Canada, but remember that many girls across the world are not as fortunate. A country like Canada can make a huge difference in the lives of girls and societies at large, by providing development assistance specifically for the purposes of educating girls at all levels”.

Globally, two thirds of the world’s 775 million illiterate adults are female.  In primary school, progress has been made in achieving parity between girls and boys; however, only 2 out of 130 countries have achieved that target at all levels of education. Poverty and violence against girls remain major barriers to secondary education, especially among older girls.

While outcomes in education have improved dramatically for Canadian girls, innovation is still possible and necessary. In the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) women are under-represented; new approaches are needed to address these imbalances. As the harmful effects of hyper sexualizing women and girls through the media become more evident, the role of the education system, particularly in promoting media literacy, becomes critical. The growing concern about bullying calls for educational tools to be developed to help counteract this increasingly alarming trend.

“The recent implementation of a Gender Studies course in the Ontario Secondary School curriculum is an excellent example of the continuous innovation that is possible. This course will enable students to learn about the nature of gender roles and norms, sexism and power relations, and the impact of representations of women and men in the media, popular culture, and the arts”, said Murphy.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace. CFUW is the largest affiliate of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), the leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.

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For more information, contact: Tara Fischer, Advocacy Coordinator, CFUW; email advocacy@fcfdu.org or 613-234-8252 ext. 106.

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