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Increasing girls’ employability worldwide: The Room to Read difference

March 12, 2024

Skill building

At Room to Read, we know that when you invest in girls’ education, you create a path to more equitable income and employment outcomes, helping to change the lives of young women, their families, their communities and the world. 

Over the next decade, economic, environmental and technological factors are expected to dramatically reshape the requirements of the skilled labor market. As a result, it is critical that all children — especially girls — can access the knowledge, self-efficacy and support they need to complete a full, quality education. The World Bank has identified strong, direct linkages between educational attainment and improved life outcomes, showing that individuals with higher levels of education consistently earn at least double that of those with secondary education.

In many parts of the world, however, girls’ educational attainment lags behind boys. Women are entering the global skilled labor market at lower rates than men. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank reported that the difference in expected lifetime earnings between women and men was more than $170 trillion globally. And gendered differences in income are cyclical: lower levels of education attainment lead to disparate levels and lower participation in the labor market, ultimately influencing girls’ capacity to earn and make their own choices about their futures.

Through our Girls’ Education Program, Room to Read is working to break this cycle — by keeping girls in school longer and equipping them with the life skills they need to take advantage of future employment opportunities.  

Room to Read's Girls' Education Program in Cambodia. 



The role of Room to Read's life skills curriculum in supporting girls’ future careers and goals 

As the global skilled labor landscape continues to shift, it is crucial that girls build future-looking skills like adaptability, resiliency and creative problem-solving. The realities of global challenges, like climate change and economic crises, are catalyzing the creation of new industries while disrupting existing ones. Results from a global jobs report released by the World Economic Forum in 2023 point to a growing demand across industries for transferable life skills like creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving. An overwhelming 73 percent of employers surveyed agreed that analytical and creative thinking, as well as self-efficacy skills like resilience, flexibility and agility will continue to increase in importance and demand. 

Room to Read helps girls to stay in school, while providing them with self-efficacy and life skills education, effectively giving them a considerable advantage when entering their local job market. Our Girls' Education Program follows girls through secondary school, helping them overcome obstacles to completing their education and preparing them for employment after graduation. This is achieved through:  

  • Life skills education: The self-efficacy and life skills girls gain through Room to Read’s life skills curriculum are timeless; seamlessly transferrable across various industries; and serve as a strong foundation for lifelong learning, adaptability and success on any career path.  

  • Financial literacy workshops: In addition to our life skills curriculum and educational content, Room to Read is field testing a financial literacy program, which aims to help girls gain improved awareness of methods to save money, engage in entrepreneurship and become more financially autonomous. After 1–2 years of participating in financial literacy workshops in Tanzania and Sri Lanka, adolescent girls were found to have a statistically significant improvement in their understanding of savings, gender, finances and entrepreneurship. 

  • Mentoring: In addition to regular support and guidance from a local mentor, participants in the program also receive support and education from their mentors around tertiary education, vocational education and other opportunities to pursue for their futures. 

  • Family and Community Engagement: The program engages entire families and communities to underscore the importance of uplifting girls and women as a path toward future prosperity for all. On average across countries, long-run GDP per capita would be almost 20 percent higher if gender employment gaps were closed.  

Room to Read's Girls' Education Program in Tanzania.


You can create a more equitable world by supporting girls with the opportunity to develop life skills, complete their education, gain employment and reshape their futures.  

Give now to support Room to Read's Girls' Education Program