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Gender Equality

Bridge Kenya is empowering a new generation of confident, successful girls. If you’re an 11-year-old girl living in one of the world’s most marginalised communities, you face less access to education than your brother, a greater likelihood of economic and social marginalisation, the prospect of forced marriage, early pregnancy, and increased maternal mortality. Being a young girl in many communities can be the most difficult hand to be dealt.

63 million girls between ages 6-15 are out of school and 16 million girls between ages 6-11 never enter one
Only 34% of girls from the poorest households, living in the poorest countries complete primary school
In Kenya, nearly 40% of girls in Kenya reported missing days of school because they didn’t have access to pads when they were menstruating

Educated girls are healthier, have the skills to make choices about their own future, and can lift themselves, their community, and even their county out of poverty. For instance, a percentage point increase in girls’ education boosts GDP by 0.3 percentage points and raises annual GDP growth rates by 0.2 percentage points. Again, one extra year of education for girls increases their wages by between 10-20%. By educating girls we change the future of entire communities as women reinvest 90% of their income in their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men.

In Kenya’s 2017 national exam (KCPE), Bridge girls earned an additional 17 points above and beyond the national average for girls that year (out of 500 possible points). The average pass rate for Bridge pupils was 61.5%, with the passing rate of pupils who have been at Bridge for five years and above at 76%. Since 2015, the number of female pupils passing their KCPE has increased by over 20%. Girls who had attended a Bridge academy for over five years were our highest performing KCPE cohort, averaging 287 marks. Since 2015, the number of girls attending Bridge schools who excel in the KCPE with at least 250 marks and above has increased by 30%.

1.8% of Bridge pupils who sat for the 2021 KCPE exams have been accepted into elite national schools in the country, including the traditional giants such as Alliance Girls High School, Starehe Boys’ Centre and School, Lenana School, Maseno School, and Nairobi School among others. 58% of Bridge pupils who sat for the 2021 KCPE exams have been accepted into Extra-County and County Schools. Ten Bridge graduates in Kenya have won full scholarships to high schools in the US and of these, seven of them were girls. They are now receiving straight A’s at their respective high schools.

Women are at the centre of many communities and we believe that by empowering them you can empower girls. Strong female role models can be found in our classrooms, parent-teacher associations and within our organisation. In Kenya, we created the ‘Super Mama’ programme. Each academy elects ‘Super Mamas’, who are closely involved with the school to work on empowerment programmes and act as role models. ‘Super Mamas’ are the voice of their communities and contribute to planning and decision making at our academies. We encourage communities to learn from each other and have even held national women’s leadership conferences to enable Super Mamas to come together, share experiences and take new knowledge back to their communities.

The United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles is a good way to show our focus. Formulated by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, the “Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles offering guidance to organisations on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.” The UN WEPs “are informed by international labour and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that organisations have a stake in, and a responsibility for, gender equality and women’s empowerment.” This should be automatically embedded into all organisations and societal cultures but until it is, the principles offer a good guide.

Mainstreaming women empowerment principles

Women are at the centre of many communities and we believe that by empowering them you can empower girls. Strong female role models can be found in our classrooms, parent-teacher associations and within our organisation. In Kenya, we created the ‘Super Mama’ programme. Each academy elects ‘Super Mamas’, who are closely involved with the school to work on empowerment programmes and act as role models. ‘Super Mamas’ are the voice of their communities and contribute to planning and decision making at our academies. We encourage communities to learn from each other and have even held national women’s leadership conferences to enable Super Mamas to come together, share experiences and take new knowledge back to their communities.

The United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles is a good way to show our focus. Formulated by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, the “Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles offering guidance to organisations on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.” The UN WEPs “are informed by international labour and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that organisations have a stake in, and a responsibility for, gender equality and women’s empowerment.” This should be automatically embedded into all organisations and societal cultures but until it is, the principles offer a good guide.

Promoting gender equality in education

Gender equality in schools

Equality of educational opportunity and accountability

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