A Lesson in Life Skills for International Women's Day
At Room to Read, we believe in the power of life skills - skills like critical thinking, negotiating, and perseverance that can help young women remove barriers and become leaders of their own lives.
In December, Room to Read and the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance collaborated in Vietnam to showcase the power of life skills.
Alongside true champions of girls’ education – including Julia Roberts, Lana Condor, Ngô Thanh Vân (Veronica Ngo), YouTube’s Liza Koshy and the TODAY Show’s Jenna Bush Hager – Michelle Obama visited a Room to Read partner school and participated in life skills lessons with Girls’ Education Program participants.
This life skills session, I Am Confident, was shared with the Obama Foundation delegation during their visit and is designed to help the young women in your life build a positive self-image that they can embrace as they navigate key life decisions.
Download the Lesson Plan to Build Girls' Confidence
International Women's Day is Sunday, March 8th
When women and girls are educated they don’t just transform their own lives; they transform their families, their countries, and our world. Each of us benefits from gender equality. Each of us can help. And collectively, each and every action will create a gender equal world. So we asked: How do you advocate for gender equality?
Celebrate International Women's Day by striking the #EachForEqual pose and tagging @RoomtoRead to tell us how you advocate for gender equality.
The Need for Girls' Education
Right now, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. This is a crisis and we know the single best approach to improving the status of women is through education. Yet, girls are disadvantaged when it comes to getting an education. Cultural bias, gender discrimination and safety concerns discourage girls from learning, and these pressures become even more pronounced when girls reach secondary school.
Room to Read's Girls’ Education Program was founded with the belief that educated women can change the world. Educated women are healthier, earn more income for their families, and are greater contributors to their community and country.
Empowering Girls Through Education
Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program helps girls stay in school longer, progress towards completion of secondary school, and acquire the skills and agency they need to make informed choices about their lives and realize their potential.
Four Key Components to Girls' Education
Negotiating a Better Future Through Life Skills
Girls need life skills. Thinking critically, empathizing and relying on themselves help them meet day-to-day challenges and make informed decisions. When girls learn these skills and how to use them daily, they become better equipped to handle the challenges they may face, from gender bias to finding time to study.
We help girls to discover their own strength, advocate for themselves, and create a new and different path from the one that might be forced upon them. Our program enables girls to learn and practice life skills through classes, workshops and extracurricular activities.
A Role Model to Cheer Girls in Good Times and Bad
Our local mentors, who we call social mobilizers, act as role models, advisors and advocates for girls in our program. In addition to serving as examples of educated, strong women in the community, they support girls emotionally and guide them through both individual and group mentoring sessions.
Offsetting School Costs
The cost of a school uniform or safe transportation often prohibits families from sending their daughters to school. That’s why we provide need-based material support for school costs such as tuition fees, uniforms, bus fare/bicycles and exam preparation services. This way, parents don’t have to choose between putting food on the table and educating their children.
Engaging the Family, School and Community
Our work with families, schools and communities aims to create environments that support girls’ success in school and beyond. To engage these stakeholders, we hold workshops and community meetings where parents and caretakers can discuss the importance of sending all of their children — not just the boys — to school, and the challenges they face. Our program alumnae also participate, serving as valuable role models for younger girls, and often contributing as mentors and guest speakers.
The End of Impossible
Some think putting an end to illiteracy and gender inequality in our lifetime is impossible. But not Room to Read. We are fighting against gender inequality in education. We just need the funds to do it. Let’s reverse the notion that the end to these challenges is impossible.
One of the most important investments we can make is ensuring that girls are able to stay in school, advocate for themselves and navigate life's most difficult decisions. It costs just $25 a month to give a girl everything she needs to stay in school.
We invest in girls’ education for long-term, systemic change. That means sustaining our programs for years, if not decades, and scaling them to a country’s need. To these ends, we focus on girls’ transitions into and through secondary school — that’s where the biggest and most permanent gaps in gender equality in education take place. We also collaborate with government officials at the local, regional and national levels to promote girl-friendly learning environments. These partnerships ensure that our program is complementary of national efforts, sustainable and nationally scalable.