What are Barriers to Girls’ Education?

At Wellspring, we believe that all childrenboys and girlsshould experience an education that elevates their worth and dignity, and provides them with the tools they need to thrive. However, for millions of girls worldwide who face relentless obstacles in their pursuit of learning, this experience is far from the reality. That’s why our work with teachers, leaders, and parents promotes greater awareness of the specific challenges faced by girls and advocates for safe, engaging, and equitable learning environments for every child.

There Are Barriers to Girls’ Education…

In Rwanda, traditional gender norms lead to many girls being overlooked in favour of boys when it comes to education. Girls are often expected to carry a heavier load in the home—whether caring for children, taking care of chores, growing food, or fetching water—and when families don’t have the resources to send all of their children to school, girls are the ones left behind.

Even getting to and from school can be hazardous in some communities, and the lack of security can result in many girls staying home. Stereotypes around the role of women as wives and mothers, combined with persistent cultural norms, cut education short as young women are forced into early marriage and unwanted pregnancies.

All of these external factors hinder so many girls from receiving the education they deserve, but the challenge doesn’t stop there. Even in schools themselves, there are not always facilities available that factor in girls’ sanitation and health needs. And in classrooms, teaching practices can often reflect negative gender bias and traditional norms, which significantly impacts the ability of girls to actively participate in their learning. Matters become worse when girls internalize the messages they receive in the classroom and in their community, expecting less from themselves, and attaching less value to their education.

…But There is Hope

It’s against this cultural backdrop that Wellspring engages in the training of schools and communities and advocacy work. Wellspring has launched Gender-Responsive Formative Assessment training to help teachers combat gender bias, identify the specific learning needs of girls, and develop strategies to make sure girls are empowered in the classroom and succeed in their learning. We also work with parents and community members to help break down gender stereotypes that hold so many girls back and prevent them from fulfilling their incredible potential. Quality education is for every child, and so gender equity is a principle that is woven through both our grassroots work and our policy engagement, and that we will continue to pursue for years to come!

Other Foundational Pieces

We are sharing these Foundational Pieces to help you learn more about who we are and what we do.