Authors: Barbara Herz, and Gene B. Sperling, Senior Fellow for Economic Policy and Director of the Center for Universal Education
Council on Foreign Relations Press
Investing in girls’ education globally delivers huge returns for economic growth, political participation, women’s health, smaller and more sustainable families, and disease prevention, concludes a new report from the Council’s Center for Universal Education by Senior Fellow Gene Sperling, former national economic adviser in the Clinton administration, and Barbara Herz, who brings more than twenty years of expertise at the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Treasury, and the World Bank.
To effectively support and expand programs that increase girls’ educational opportunities, countries need to develop comprehensive national education strategies and ensure that heads of state and ministers prioritize education, which in turn can mobilize sufficient resources to get the job done. The report summarizes the extensive body of research on the state of girls' education in the developing world today; the impact of educating girls on families, economies, and nations; and the most promising approaches to increasing girls' enrollment and educational quality. The overall conclusions are straightforward: educating girls pays off substantially. While challenges still remain, existing research provides us quidance on how to make significant progress.
Barbara Herz, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has worked on and written about girls' education for more than twenty years. In the 1970s she headed the U.S. Agency for International Development division responsible for policy in education, health, and population. She was a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN Conference for Women in Copenhagen in 1980. She then worked from 1981 to 1999 at the World Bank, where she launched the Women in Development division and then headed another division covering education, health, and population
in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. She was a member of the World Bank Delegation to the UN Conference for Women in Nairobi in 1986. She later served as senior adviser for social sectors to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and is now an economic consultant living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She holds a BA from Wellesley and a PhD from Yale.
Gene B. Sperling is the director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Sperling previously served as national economic adviser to President Clinton from 1996-2000, and represented the Clinton administration at the 2000 UN World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, where he delivered one of the keynote addresses. Mr. Sperling is a member of the UN Millennium Task Force on Gender Equality and Education, and served on the Education Expert Group of the World Economic Forum's Global Governance Initiative. Mr. Sperling also serves as U.S. chair of the Global Campaign for Education. He graduated from Yale Law School and holds a BA from the University of Minnesota.
Subscribe to the Women and Foreign Policy Update
Elliott Abrams gives his take on the Middle East and on democracy and human rights issues across the globe.
Receive Blog Posts by Email
Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light. More
By All Means Necessary
This clear and authoritative book presents a sweeping account of China's global resource quest and the unrivaled expansion of its economy. More
No Exit from Pakistan
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
View Complete List
Independent Task Force Reports
New Council Special Reports
Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Reorienting U.S.-Pakistan Strategy
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
Afghanistan After the Drawdown
The authors assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
Complete list of Council Special Reports
Now Available: Foreign Policy Begins at Home
New Foreign Affairs eBook: Tiananmen and After