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In Ethiopia, only six girls are enrolled in school for every 10 boys. This is despite findings showing that each additional year of schooling for a girl can translate into a 10 percent increase in wages later in her life.

UNFPA’s The State of the World’s Population report that was officially released in Ethiopia on Tuesday November 22, 2016, shows that the future of a better world depends on the investment into the wellbeing and education of 10 year old girls.

The report notes that of the 125 million 10-year-olds today, 60 million are girls who are systematically disadvantaged at the global level as they move through adolescence into adulthood. Forced marriage, child labor, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices undermining girls’ health and rights threaten the world’s ambitious development agenda, warns the report.

“There is a need to invest in girls’ education to empower and make them active players in the development endeavor of the country and Ethiopia is committed to continuing to invest in girls’ education,” said Abraham Tekeste, Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation.

Similarly, Demitu Hambisa, Minister of Women and Children Affairs underlined that obstacles such as harmful practices impeding the progress of girls and women need to be earnestly addressed.

The State of World Population 2016 highlights that practices harming girls and violating  their human rights-starting at age 10 which is around the time they are transitioning into adolescence-prevent them from realizing their full potential as adults and from contributing to the economic and social progress of their communities and nations.

Without their contribution, the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals may never be achieved. Studies have shown that removing the barriers holding 10-year-old girls back today will increase the chances that the agenda will be a success.

“When a girl enjoys her rights, is able to stay in school, stay healthy and is protected from child marriage and early pregnancy – she has a better chance of realizing her full potential by the time she reaches adulthood,” UNFPA Country Director Faustin Yao underlined adding that girls who reach adulthood with an education and their health and rights intact stand to triple their lifetime income.