As the royal tour of the Pacific draws to a close, it is evident that women’s’ empowerment and education was a hot topic during speeches made by the Duchess of Sussex.
In Fiji, the Duchess made a speech cantered on the importance of women’s education (section of transcript below):
“Bula! It is a great privilege to be with all of you today.
Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital. Providing them with access to education is the key to economic and social development. Because when girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but also for those around them.
While progress has been made in many areas across the Commonwealth, there is always scope to offer more opportunities to the next generation of young adults, and specifically to young women.
It is wonderful to join you here today, and we look forward to learning more about your academic endeavours and the work you plan to do as future leaders and as change-makers!” Sourced from www.townandcountrymag.com
Whilst in New Zealand, the Duchess also made a speech on women’s suffrage, resonating well with the CGEF its sister charity, the Commonwealth Countries League’s history as being born out of the women’s suffrage movement.
“We are proud to be able to join you tonight in celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in your country.
The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired.
In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes.
Because yes—women's suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.
Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community. The involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world you are a part of.
And women's suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents.
The basic and fundamental human right of all people—including members of society who have been marginalized—whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity, or orientation—to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.
So bravo New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago—for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote, and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally.
We all deeply thank you.
In the words of your suffragette Kate Sheppard, "All that separates, whether race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome." Sourced from www.townandcountrymag.com
The Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF)
For the past 51 years, the Commonwealth Girls Education Fund and its wide network of supporters have worked tirelessly to provide access to secondary education for able girls all over the Commonwealth.
From mountainous and desert communities to remote Pacific islands and urban slums, our beneficiaries come from a variety of places and backgrounds. They speak different languages and have different cultures, yet what they have in common is a passion to learn, to be educated and feel empowered to lead whatever life they choose.
Through an annual financial award, tailored to the specific needs of each girl, the CGEF pay for anything from tuition, clothing, stationary and books, to transport, food and sanitary products. We work closely with over 50 schools and organisations in order to enable around 350 girls per year to go to secondary school.
Renewal of financial support is based on each girl’s school report, achievements and recommendation from the Head Teacher. The Trustees also require a photograph and an annual letter from the girl with information about her life and ambitions.
Educate A Girl. Empower A Woman. Inspire A Community. Change Lives
With each girl sponsored, the impact goes way beyond what she can achieve for herself. In fact, many of our beneficiaries speak of how education will enable them to provide for their families, their communities and even their country.
Globally just 77% of girls complete lower secondary school education (nine years in school) and in low-income countries, less than one third of girls get this far. Yet it takes 12 years of continuous education to attain a worthwhile school certificate. As a result, anything we can to do help the millions of girls around the world who are deprived of their fundamental human right to complete a secondary education will help to change lives. Together we help to eliminate poverty, end child marriage and early childbearing, reduce population growth, improve health, empower girls, build social capital and facilitate more successful and secure countries.