On International Day of the Girl, EOF CEO Dr. Amel Karboul celebrates the power of education for girls around the world in a letter written to her daughters.
To my girls,
Today is International Day of the Girl. It is a time to reflect on my aspiration that you, and every girl around the world, will enjoy a life full of choices. And it is a time to share how you inspire me.
I know that I have been lucky. I have enjoyed the benefits of an education that has enabled me to make choices about the path I want to pursue. My education opened up opportunities I couldn’t have imagined when I was your age—joining the Tunisian government as the first woman Minister of Tourism, working for leading multinational companies, and also helping lead international organizations. And now, it has led me to a position in which I can help girls and boys around the world receive the education that they so richly deserve.
Education is not a luxury—it is the right of every child. And it is transformative; it lifts girls out of poverty and empowers them to make their own choices. It can set them on a path that will not only enrich their own life, but that of their community, and even their nation.
Watching you learn and expand your knowledge has been one of my life’s greatest delights—and I hope we can help more girls in your generation to access such opportunities.
As I write this letter we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Again, we are lucky. I have been able to continue my work, ‘meeting’ people around the world on a daily basis in a way that we could never before have imagined. And you have been able to continue your education, both remotely and in person. There have been days where it has felt hard. Days when none of us could face another video conference. Days when the maths problems seemed just too difficult without a teacher standing next to you to guide you to the solution. Days when we felt isolated from friends and family. But being able to continue our work and education during this time will shape our collective futures positively. For too many women and girls, this will not be the case.
The pandemic has had an outsized impact on women and girls. Too many will not return to education when schools reopen. Too many will have been pressed into early marriages. Too many have suffered hunger and poverty through being unable to work. It is my dream that we can stop this happening in the future. That we can give girls the same choices and opportunities that we enjoy, because they have received a rewarding education.
Throughout this time, you have inspired me with your grace in the face of our own adversities, and you have recognized that we are lucky to have choices available to us. It is my hope for you that these choices remain at the forefront of your life, and that at each fork in the road you feel empowered to choose a path that will lead you towards happiness.