Reduce global warming – send a girl to school!

By Madeleine Clark

In the 80 most effective solutions to reduce global warming, what part do women play? According to Drawdown, Paul Hawkens’s comprehensive exploration of defeating CO2, Educating Girls is #6. That’s more effective than Solar Farms (#8) and even Nuclear Energy (#20). In fact, a 2010 economic study shows investing in educating the world’s girls is one of the most cost-effective solutions for reducing CO2 – at only $10 per ton eliminated.

How can educating girls have any impact on greenhouse gasses?

It’s a case of exponentials. According to the Brookings Institution, “The difference between a woman with no years of school and with 12 years of school is almost 4 to 5 children, per woman.” Not surprisingly, the areas of the world where girls are most education-challenged also have the highest rate of population growth. If all these nations adopted an aggressive effort and achieved 100 percent enrollment of girls in primary and secondary school, by 2050 there could be 843 million fewer people in the world* That translates to the loss of 59.6 gigatons of CO2 on the planet!

While that’s a great long term benefit, educating girls in these countries benefits virtually every level of global society; educated girls achieve higher wages and greater upward mobility; rates of maternal and infant mortality drop; they are less like to marry as children or against their will; they have lower incidence of HIV/AIDs and malaria. Their farms are more productive, their families are better nourished, their communities are more economically successful.

But above all, education is the most powerful lever available for breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Today, 62 million girls in the world are denied the right to attend school, but there are real and actionable solutions. According to the United Nations, by closing an annual financing gap of $39 billion, universal education in low-to-middle income countries could be achieved.

This year, 3% of HerWerk’s profits will go to the Malala Fund, whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, quality education for girls the world over.
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*according to a study by the journal Science.


About Madeleine Clark

Madeleine Clark is the founder of HerWerk. She has a proven history of sourcing diverse candidate panels and a longstanding commitment to women’s advancement in the industry.
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