Imagine walking around your town and being unable to read street signs. Perhaps you are ill and go into a health care clinic but you can’t understand the words on the forms you are given or the direction on the bottle of medicine you receive. Illiteracy makes your world feel small and inaccessible.
"It is incredibly oppressive," said Rebecca Winthrop, director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, as she described illiteracy—one of the primary obstacles to consider for the more than 15 million girls (as of 2011) who had not attended primary school and were expected never to enroll. In America, 32 million people are illiterate. Worldwide, this number skyrockets to 774 million with 66 percent of that number composed of women.
Winthrope joined Chelsea Clinton and Kennedy Odede, founder of Shining Hope for Communities in Kenya, to discuss the challenge of global education for girls in a Google hangout today sponsored by the Clinton Foundation: "Education: A No Ceilings Conversation."
The conversation is the second in the year-long "No Ceilings" series intended to bring together global thinkers and create a dialogue about how to best support and expand opportunities for girls worldwide. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the Clinton Foundation to assess the progress made and obstacles that still exist for women over the last 20 years.