Young girl reading
(Photo credit: GMR Akash / Wikimedia)

In recent decades, the education of girls around the world has increased dramatically. But climate change threatens to reverse some of that progress.

Extreme weather can increase poverty and force families to leave their homes.

In Bangladesh, for example, coastal flooding has forced many poor, rural people to migrate to Dhaka, a crowded megacity.

Saniye G├╝lser Corat is director of the division for gender equality at UNESCO, a UN agency. She says when families are forced to migrate, girls often take on additional responsibilities.

“They take care of their siblings. They take care of the disabled and the elderly. They are hired out as a help to others,” she says. “So in most cases, even when education possibilities exist, girls are not usually the ones who can take advantage.”

She says families struggling to survive may also encourage their teenage daughters to get married because “it is one less mouth to feed.”

That tends to cut short their education, so she says climate change could be life-altering for women and girls around the globe.

embed code image

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.