International Day of the Girl:
Today, October 11th is International Day of the Girl –a UN endorsed idea to try and focus the worlds attention on the many millions of girls who do not get a proper education. Again and again the statistics show that while primary school attendance is growing, secondary school and higher education is out of reach to a whole swathe of girls. I think this is a fantastic initiative to keep the debate alive.
I was lucky enough to get the best education you could imagine and not only did it give me an amazing intellectual backdrop but also the confidence to start a business with Brent Hoberman. While we were trying to build our customers and get people to buy flights while holding up the first version of our site with sellotape, I would often talk to Lucy Lake one of my closest friends from University.
Lucy was number two employee at Camfed International – a charity that supports girls all over Africa into education. When we would have late night discussions about work I would describe screw ups with tickets or hotel bookings and Lucy would very quietly tell me about the trials of convincing chieftans in Zimbabwe to let the girls in their village go to school. Now Lucy is CEO and Camfed has helped millions of girls realise their potential. Numbers show that when girls go into secondary education in a country it adds 0.5% to GDP as they become economic powerhouses.
It is vital that we keep challenging leaders to make sure girls are not forgotten. It is vital for the global economy, to build entrepreneurship , to unleash the next wave of innovation and perhaps most importantly for the dignity of millions of young women.