Shaheen Statement on Trump Administration’s Discontinuation of Let Girls Learn

May 01, 2017

**Shaheen announces that she will soon introduce the Keeping Girls in School Act to build on the legacy of Let Girls Learn and its focus on adolescent girls’ education in developing nations**

**SHAHEEN: “We must stand 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 (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the below statement following reports that the Trump administration will discontinue Let Girls Learn, the initiative created by former First lady Michelle Obama to improve educational opportunities for adolescent girls, age 10 to 19, in developing nations. In response to today’s news, Shaheen announced that that she will soon introduce new legislation, the Keeping Girls in School Act, to sustain focus on the unique barriers that adolescent girls around the world face in accessing a quality, equitable education.

“I’m extremely disappointed to learn that the Trump administration is discontinuing the landmark Let Girls Learn initiative, which brought much-needed attention to the unique obstacles that adolescent girls face in getting an education around the world,” said Senator Shaheen. “Far too often, adolescent girls are kept from school because of societal norms and family obligations. 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 girls who do attend school often face violence and threats along the way. The Keeping Girls in School Act will 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.”

 Shaheen continued, “Education is the key to unlocking one’s potential, yet today, approximately 130 million girls around the world are not in school, depriving them of the opportunity to participate in the workplace, contribute to their families and the economy, and break the cycle of poverty. We must stand with adolescent girls everywhere who are deprived of an education and denied the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

According to UNESCO, more than 130 million girls around the world are out of school today, including 98 million girls who are missing out on secondary education. Adolescent girls are three times more likely than boys to be kept out of school, which means they are more vulnerable various forms of violence and less empowered to contribute to the health and success of their families and communities. 

Shaheen has been a leader in the Senate on global women’s issues, including girls’ education, girls’ and women’s healthcare and family planning services, engaging women in peace and security negotiations, and ending violence against women.