Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Tackle Obstacles Facing Adolescent Girls Seeking an Education, Building on Successes of Let Girls Learn

May 18, 2017

**Today, 130 million girls around the world are not enrolled in school** 

**The Keeping Girls in School Act would build on the successes of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn and help address the unique barriers that adolescent girls around the world face in accessing a quality, equitable education**

**SHAHEEN: We must “send a strong message that the United States stands with adolescent girls everywhere who are deprived of an education and denied the opportunity to reach their full potential”**

(Washington DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced new legislation that would help address the unique barriers adolescent girls in developing countries face in accessing an education. Today, approximately 130 million girls around the world are not in school. The Keeping Girls in School Act would build on the successes of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn and direct the U.S. government to leverage its resources and partnerships with private institutions, NGOs, and federal agencies to create solutions that address the obstacles facing adolescent girls. Shaheen’s legislation would also require the development of a U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls to ensure that the United States remains committed to adolescent girls as a critical demographic in the growth of every nation, with a specific focus on developing nations.

“Girls’ education is a critical lever in developing nations, yet societal norms and family obligations keep millions of adolescent girls from achieving an education,” said Shaheen. “Parents who can only afford to send one child to school send their sons, girls are married off at an extremely young age and expected to stay home to do menial tasks, and adolescent girls who do attend school often face violence and harassment. The Keeping Girls in School Act specifically focuses on these unique obstacles and directs the U.S. government to develop a strategy that ensures every young girl has the opportunity to achieve an education. Girls’ education is directly related to healthy communities, successful economies, and secure nations. I encourage my Senate colleagues to work with me on this important legislation and send a strong message that the United States stands with adolescent girls everywhere who are deprived of an education and denied the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Specifically, the Keeping Girls in School Act would:

  • Create an Adolescent Girls Challenge Fund, with funds from the State Department, USAID and other federal agencies working with external partners, to implement innovative programs to ensure that adolescent girls enroll in and succeed in school.
  • Authorize U.S. assistance to address the specific barriers adolescent girls face in accessing school.
  • Require the development of a U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls.

The Keeping Girls in School Act has been endorsed by 50 international nonprofit, faith-based and service delivery organizations, including Girls Not Brides, Save the Children, Amnesty International USA, CARE USA, UNICEF USA, and Girl Up. A full list of the organizations is available here.