Limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings, says a new World Bank report launched ahead of the July 12 United Nations Malala Day.
According to Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls, less than two thirds of girls in low-income countries complete primary school, and only one in three girls completes lower secondary school. On average, women who have a secondary education are more likely to work and they earn almost twice as much as those with no education.
Other positive effects of secondary school education for girls include a wide range of social and economic benefits for the girls themselves, their children and their communities. These include near-elimination of child marriage, lowering fertility rates by a third in countries with high population growth, and reducing child mortality and malnutrition.