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IWD2021: Creating schools with equity of opportunity is key to building prosperous future

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The recent appointment of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the first African and the first woman to rise to the position of a World Trade Organisation Director-General underlines the key role education plays in unlocking potential.

Her appointment sparked a lot of reactions from people all over the world, including young Nigerian girls and women with the reassurance that they can dream and aspire to reach the peak of their sector.

The International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated to observe women’s success and their pivotal role in cultural, political, social and economic development. It is also commemorated to create more awareness for women’s rights and gender equality. The 2021 IWD theme #ChooseToChallenge highlights that: “a challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. It encourages everyone to challenge gender bias, stereotypes and help forge a gender equal world.”

This message and this belief lies is the heart of Bridge International Academies’ classrooms. Bridge supports thousands of girls to become confident, empowered young women as they progress in learning each and every day. This is because educating girls and ensuring women are educated will have transformative effects at a local, national and global level.

With the negative impact the COVID19 pandemic has had on women in the workplace and girls in their education, there should be concerted effort by governments and education leaders to take positive action to guarantee that girls return to school. In our communities our area managers and teachers are taking it on themselves to ensure that their girls are back in the classroom where they belong. Women and girls who traditionally bear most of the burden of childcare and homecare now have to bear those burdens even more due to the impact of the pandemic in addition to and in some cases, events of the last year will lead to the detriment of their careers and education.

Bridge International Academies is a chain of nursery and primary schools located in underserved communities with the mission of providing life changing education to families.

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Bridge is helping to build a prosperous future by creating classrooms and schools with equity of opportunity. Childhood is the foundation of adulthood, and the inequality that girls face has massive effects on the rest of their lives. Just as the IWD theme calls everyone to #ChooseToChallenge gender inequality, we must honor the potential of girls everywhere. Every girl has the power to do anything and become anyone, they just need the opportunity and a strong educational foundation. We must make sure that every child, everywhere, has an equal chance at thriving. Making sure girls have equal opportunities starts in the classroom; it isn’t only the right thing to do, it is in all of our best interests to combat inequality.

 

According to the Managing Director at Bridge Nigeria, Foyinsola Akinjayeju said “We are proud of our efforts at Bridge to elevate the girl child’s prospects through quality education as a foundation for broader life opportunities and have designed our classrooms, teaching materials and school structure to empower and support girls. This takes deliberate thought and intentional design. We acknowledge the efforts of women who are at the heart of what we do, from our co-founder, to our women leaders, teachers, academy managers, supervisors, IT support, leadership and development officers, etc”.

“We are proud to live by the UN’s women empowerment principles in our daily work in support of girls’ education, women’s leadership in the communities we serve, and in ensuring women’s voices and leadership are present throughout our organization.

We celebrate all the women and men at Bridge, working tirelessly to support thousands of girls to become confident, empowered young women through the life changing education we provide. This is a lifetime commitment for us, hence we will continue to impact families and continue to deliver life changing education to thousands of girls.

On the occasion of IWD, Bridge’s message to everyone is to be responsible for your own thoughts and actions all day, every day. Make sure women and girls are always treated as equal to men and boys, choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, choose to seek out, celebrate and enable women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

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