Fifth (Year 10) student Claudia has won an essay writing competition organised by Restless Development in collaboration with the Financial Times.
Coming first place in the 13-15-years-old age category, Claudia’s eloquent and impassioned essay was written in response to the question How Does Education Need to Change to Help More Girls Stay in School?
In it, she calls on educators to acknowledge gender differences and to think carefully and critically about the environments in which girls are taught, as well as how the content of an education can impact on the experiences of young women.
“For societies to value women and for girls to feel safe in classrooms,” she writes, “gender stereotypes and negative gender portrayals must be removed from learning materials.”
Thoroughly researched and sensitively composed, Claudia’s essay discusses how precarious girls’ education is worldwide. Elsewhere, she writes: “According to UNICEF, only 49 per cent of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, a gap that widens to only 24 per cent for upper secondary education.”
“Girls need to be supported in the subjects that engage them and encouraged in their career choices, including those in which they are underrepresented.”
Claudia’s article is now hosted alongside winning essays from other age categories on the We Are Restless blog, which has been designed as a platform for young people to speak out on the issues that mean most to them.
Restless Development is a non-profit global agency that facilitates volunteering, research, training and mobilisation among young people seeking to foster meaningful change. Its activities centre youth empowerment against issues spanning education to gender rights, democracy to climate justice.
The Restless Development and Financial Times Writing Challenge forms part of Restless Development’s Power Up Appeal , which is concerned with raising funds to support the education of young girls in Sierra Leone and across the world.