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Rubio, Menendez Introduce Legislation to Protect Girls’ Access to Education

Jul 19, 2017 | Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on global women’s issues, respectively, today introduced the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act, legislation that would ensure children overseas who are displaced due to ongoing conflicts receive an education. The bill urges the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to prioritize increased access to education for displaced children, especially girls, who are often the most vulnerable.
 
“It is a sad reality that 62 million girls across the globe are not in school,” said Rubio. “It is critical that we help change this and ensure that all children have access to a primary or secondary education, whatever their gender and wherever they live. When girls are not in school, they can become more vulnerable to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. This legislation will help offer a brighter future for millions of children around the world.”
 
“More than 65 million people are currently displaced due to driving forces including war, famine, and persecution, half of whom are under the age of 18. Education empowers young people to take control of their future and by equipping them with tools to become the next generation of leaders for their communities in and emerging from conflict,” said Menendez. “Ensuring access to education provides alternatives for joining criminal organization and protection from abduction, human trafficking and early marriage, which disproportionately impact young girls. This legislation sends and important message that the United States supports displaced people around the world, the importance of equal opportunity for girls and boys, and the value of education.”
 
U.S. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced the companion bill in the House.