International Women's Day 2018

Project Literacy highlights partners working with women's literacy


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Women's Literacy

This Thursday is International Women's Day, when the world celebrates women’s cultural, economic and political achievements. In 1975, International Women's Day became a regular fixture in the calendar when the United Nations began celebrating it every year on the 8th of March.

Project Literacy will be using this opportunity to remind people of the stark reality that, in spite of huge progress towards gender equality, women and girls around the globe are still facing a solvable crisis: two thirds of the 750 million people who cannot read and write, are female.  Around 500 million women continue to be denied basic literacy skills, which also means that participating fully in society – including the act of attending school or voting - is out of reach. The reality is that not being able to read doesn’t just mean you can’t enjoy a good book; it means you are at a disadvantage when it comes to making decisions that affect your life, the lives of your family and your community.

Literacy can be a force for change, which is why Pearson launched the Project Literacy campaign in 2015, to ensure that all people – regardless of geography, language, race, class, or gender – have the opportunity to fulfill their potential through the power of words.

This International Literacy Day and for the rest of this Women’s History Month, Project Literacy will highlight the stories of women navigating these literacy barriers by dedicating our digital channels to organizations in our partner network who are working to improve women’s access to education and literacy.  By surfacing the campaigns of partners such as Womankind WorldwideRoom to Read28 Too Many, and Veerni Project, we hope to raise more awareness and add weight to their cause.

Simultaneously, Pearson is putting mobile reading technology into the hands of over 200,000 families in India where parents, especially mothers, now have the chance to build their confidence around literacy through Read to Kids in partnership with Worldreader. Another Project Literacy partner, AFRIPads, provides sanitary pads to girls in East Africa, keeping young girls in education where previously, the onset of menstruation would mean they dropped out.

These, and many other Project Literacy partners understand that literacy does not exist in a vacuum. It disproportionately intersects with poverty and gender, but it can also therefore be leveraged as a tool for equity.

We are proud to support our partners and the 500 million women around the world who have the potential to make these barriers a thing of the past.

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