What’s So Scary About Smart Girls?

Nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted in April. Malala Yousafzai was shot for speaking up about her right to an education. Every day around the world, girls are in danger simply because of their desire to get an education. We created a video that asks one simple question:

What’s so scary about smart girls?

Why are girls terrorized, injured, kidnapped, or killed just because they want to go to school?

While the sheer scale and audacity of the Nigerian kidnappings are horrifying, attacks on education happen all over the world with alarming regularity.

An attack on education is defined as an intentional threat or action against students, teachers and institutions for political, ideological, or religious reasons. A study conducted by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack found that between 2009 and 2013 there have been attacks in at least 70 different countries. Save the Children reports that in 2012 alone there were 3,643 attacks; 75 children and 212 teachers were killed or injured.

Girls suffer disproportionately when it comes to such attacks. Most often, they are targeted specifically because of their gender, where they also face the additional risk of sexual or gender-based violence. When there is a continuing threat of violence, female students are often pulled out of school by their parents ahead of male students.

But educating girls is the key to building stable, egalitarian communities. An educated girl knows her value and will demand her rights. A child born to an educated mother is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5. A woman earns 20 percent more for every year of school she attends. Educating girls now will create opportunities in the future. As Nicholas Kristof notes in his article What's So Scary About Smart Girls?, “Ultimately, the greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles, but girls reading books.”

We are not afraid of smart girls.

For background information on the Nigerian kidnappings, read Nicholas Kristof’s articles and blog posts:
Standing With the Kidnapped Girls in Nigeria
'Bring Back Our Girls'
Honoring the Missing Schoolgirls
Why the Kidnapped Schoolgirls Matter

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Support smart girls everywhere by helping organizations that are working to educate girls.

Afghan Institute of Learning has a Global Giving page, where you can choose a project that you want to donate to. For example, $32 will give four girls the chance to attend a computer class; $10 will buy two books for a library; and $15 can help train a teacher.

A donation to Camfed can provide a girl with school supplies, new shoes, or a school uniform.

Giving $17 to CARE can provide a girl with her own school kit, which includes a bag, notebooks, pencils, and hygiene items. $49 can pay for an entire year of school for a girl. $75 can supply one year of drinking water and sanitation for 25 students.

Support a girls' education project on Catapult. All projects on Catapult support women and girls. 

Malala Fund will donate 100 percent of proceeds to local Nigerian nonprofit organizations focused on education and advocacy for girls and women.

Room to Read has established over 16,000 libraries, built 1,800 schools, and helped 8.8 million children get access to an education. A donation from you can provide a girl with a mentor, safe transportation to school, or the uniform and supplies she needs to succeed.

A $60 gift to Save the Children can support a preschool, enabling classroom renovations, school supplies, and teacher training. $70 can educate a girl, giving her everything she needs to succeed in school. And $100 can supply a classroom with 80 new books.

Donating $30 to Shining Hope for Communities is enough to sponsor a student’s education at the Kibera School for Girls for a month. $500 will buy a computer for Shining Hope’s clinic or school.