Six people – an economist, a sociologist, an anthropologist, an educator, an activist and a mother – talk about the importance of gender parity, education and development. Each chapter is an excerpt from a more extensive interview. The viewpoints expressed do not reflect the position of UNICEF or the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative.

Stephan Klasen
Stephan Klasen, a University of Göttingen economics professor, has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. Dr. Klasen’s research focuses on gender and development with an emphasis on the causes and consequences of gender bias in developing countries. He has advised numerous national and international donor organizations on economic policy issues.

Economics of Girls’ Education: “We now have a very large body of literature that has been documented empirically that female education has a particularly important role to play in promoting economic development in a broad sense. It does so directly by allowing females to become part of the work force, to increase their productivity and contribute to economic growth.”
Barry Chevannes
Barry Chevannes, professor of social anthropology at The University of the West Indies, received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. Dr. Chevannes has written about gender, fatherhood, socialization, music and the Caribbean and has been a leader in the movement to address educational gender disparity among boys in the Caribbean.

Boys Left Out: “There is no doubt in my mind that male alienation from the school system does contribute to all of the social problems that we have come across. To put it another way, if they were educated, I think that the negative trends that we have been emphasizing – violence, irresponsible sexual behaviour and so on – would be much less.”
Rima Salah
Rima Salah, UNICEF's Deputy Executive Director since December 2004, was a UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, and UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam, Pakistan and Burkina Faso. Dr. Salah, a national of Jordan born in Jerusalem, earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She has conducted extensive research on gender and development and child-centred community development.

Respecting the Culture: “A girl will play a very important role in her community, but she will also play a very important role in socializing her children and their upbringing. If she has this sense of justice inculcated in her, she will also inculcate it in her children.”
Cream Wright
Cream Wright, Chief of Education Section at UNICEF, received his Ph.D. in Education Innovations from the University of London's Institute of Education. He was employed at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, as Head of Education and acting Director of the Human Resources Development Division (Education and Health Departments). Dr. Wright was also the Director of the Centre for Research in Education of Secondary Teachers at Milton Margai Teachers College in Sierra Leone.

Theory, Practice and Accountability: “In a way, that’s what development is about. It’s about having aspirations. And that’s what advocacy does. It gives people aspirations. It gives them things to aspire to. It shows how things can be, not just what they are.”
Angélique Kidjo
Angélique Kidjo, has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since July 2002. Throughout her illustrious career as a musician, singer and performer, Ms. Kidjo has championed human rights, environmental protection, reconciliation and development. She is a special friend to girls’ education.

Strength of Women’s Voices: “When you travel to Africa, the first thing that strikes you is the energy of the women in the market, in the house, doing tons of things. And imagine that with an education.”
Marivic Javierto
Marivic Javierto, is a wife and a mother of five children in Manila, Philippines. Ms. Javierto is active in her youngest children’s school as a member of the parent-teacher association.

A Mother’s View: “If you educate a son, you educate a person. If you educate a daughter, you educate a family. And that is the only gift that we can offer to them as parents – education.”