Every $1.50 (R23) invested in girls' education it generates $2.80 (R43) in return, according to a study on eight developing countries by Citi and Plan International.
But in many countries, girls face tragic barriers to education including forced marriage, pregnancy and gender-based violence.
Before the pandemic, more than 130 million girls were already not going to school according to UNESCO. After schools shut during lockdowns, 11 million more may never return to the classroom.
In addition, 85 percent of girls in low-income countries do not complete secondary school, leaving them disadvantaged and the wider society and economy worse off too.
To change this, governments must implement policies to protect girls' rights while working with NGOs to challenge harmful societal gender norms.
Compiled by Phelokazi Mbude
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