Mary Robinson, who served as the 7th and first female President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.
But imagine if we could not see her. If she was denied an education.
If Mary Robinson did not receive an education, like 130 million girls worldwide today, then she would not have been Ireland’s first female President, nor would she have been a champion for human rights while she was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Without an education girls become invisible.
If financial commitments to education are not stepped up soon, the world will fall dramatically short of its targets in this area in the Global Goals. 130 million girls are currently out of school, but if current trends continue, by 2030 400 million girls will not be able to secure a secondary education.
We must act now or lose the potential of a generation.
By funding quality education for all children and addressing the barriers preventing equal participation at school, we can enable children, especially girls, to reach their full potential and decide their own future rather than it being decided for them.
On 2nd February, in Dakar Senegal, Ireland will have the opportunity, along with other wealthy nations, philanthropies and corporations, to pledge funds to the Global Partnership for Education, which supports education for the poorest and most marginalised.
If Ireland were to step up its contribution to this fund, it would send a message to the other world leaders of Ireland’s continued commitment to education across the world. It could inspire others to do likewise.