11 October 2013

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today highlighted Australia’s commitment to educating girls in developing countries on the International Day of the Girl.

“This year the Day of the Girl focuses on the importance of education in empowering young women and lifting them out of poverty,” Ms Bishop said.

“Australia firmly believes that all girls should have the right to go to school,” she said.

774 million people around the world lack basic literacy skills; two-thirds of those are girls and women.

For girls, every year of basic education makes a difference to employment opportunities, marriage age, health and their capacity to make better decisions about their lives and those of their children.

“It’s timely that Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to go to school freely and safely has today been awarded the European Union’s Sakharov human rights award,” Ms Bishop said.

“I congratulate Malala for the award and for being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I was very impressed by her strength and courage when we met in New York last month,” she said.

“Education is a central pillar of the Australian aid program. It is integral to developing engaged citizens who are able to contribute to their communities and influence decision-making,” Ms Bishop said.


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