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Global Business Leaders Launch Girls' Education Task Force


** Gucci, Standard Chartered, Dangote Foundation and other global brands join up for girls’ education on eve of International Women’s Day

** New business-inspired Task Force to scale up efforts currently helping six million girls go to school

** Chief Executive of Dangote Foundation to serve as Task Force co-Chair

A new Girls’ Education Task Force to overcome barriers that discriminate against girls and their right to education has today been launched by the Global Business Coalition for Education.

Standard Chartered and the Dangote Foundation will co-chair the Task Force alongside other major technological and consumer brands.

GBC-Education Executive Chair Sarah Brown launched the initiative at a Facebook event in London, with senior women business leaders from across industry, to mark International Women's Day on Sunday.

Sarah Brown said: "The journey of having the best start in life means having the chance to go to school, which is why we are launching the Girls' Education Task Force."

The Task Force - led by the Dangote Foundation and Standard Chartered - will pledge to address the issue of 31million out-of-school girls and leverage the resources, networks and know-how of business to ensure girls are completing school, developing skills and finding jobs to reach their full potential.

Using technology to improve access to education for the most marginalized girls will be a cornerstone of the Task Force.

Zouera Youssoufou, who was appointed earlier this year as the new Chief Executive of the Dangote Foundation, will co-chair the group. Youssoufou said: "Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the highest number of out-of-school girls.

"The business community has been a consistent investor in girls' education but we must better coordinate our efforts and knowledge to deliver education to the most marginalized and hardest-to-reach girls. I am pleased to co-chair this Task Force so that we can harness the best of the business community to ensure girls reach their greatest potential through education."

The Global Business Coalition for Education, representing more than 100 companies working to improve education for children and youth in developing countries, already reaches six million girls through their investments in empowerment, mentoring and Safe Schools.

Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact, welcomed the initiative to improve girls’ education.  Kell said: "We know that education is an enabler and equalizer, and I am pleased to see on the occasion of International Women's Day the launch of the Girls' Education Task Force by GBC-Education. Girls' education is at the root of women's empowerment and will unlock the talent and potential of our future women leaders. The UN Global Compact is committed to these issue areas through the Women's Empowerment Principles and Children's Rights and Business Principles to support girls' education and women's empowerment for a more equitable and prosperous society."

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, who recently launched the HeForShe global effort with UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, also welcomed the initiative.  Mlambo-Ngcuka said: "I am thrilled to see the Global Business Coalition for Education bringing together its leading companies to support girls’ education.  Business must play a leading role to empower girls and young women to take their rightful place among the next generation of leaders by guaranteeing their right to education.”

The odds of achieving education and learning are even worse for those girls living in conflict and emergency settings.   Poverty further excludes girls from accessing quality education, with those from the poorest and rural households facing the greatest disadvantages.

V. Shankar, Group Executive Director and CEO, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas, Standard Chartered said: "Standard Chartered has been empowering adolescent girls with the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to be integral economic leaders in their families and economies since 2006 through its award-winning Goal programme.

"Goal has reached over 145,000 girls globally across 24 countries. We are delighted to be working with GBC-Education and its new Girls’ Education Task Force to champion the right to education for girls worldwide.”

Payal Dalal, Head of Education and Girls Programmes at Standard Chartered, has been designated as Co-Chair.

Throughout the course of the upcoming year, the Task Force will focus on developing new strategies for companies to more effectively deliver on the promise of universal education for girls worldwide.

Robert Triefus, Chief Marketing Officer, Gucci said: “Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE are proud to be part of GBC-Education’s ongoing efforts to engage the business sector to improve global education, especially for girls.

"The CHIME FOR CHANGE campaign brings together diverse and innovative partners in support of girls' and women’s rights, and through our engagement in the Task Force, we hope to use the campaign’s voice to show how business can lead the way in ensuring the right to education.”

GBC-Education is an initiative of Theirworld which launched the Girls Stand Up For School campaign drive and saw thousands globally - including Shakira, Lang Lang, Heidi Klum, Priyanka Chopra and Arianna Huffington - posting their school picture to stand up for girls' education and call for action through the Up For School petition.

For more information, please call:
Global Business Coalition for Education
Kevin Kalra
+1 212 521 5452


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