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Access to Education for Women

Volume 727: debated on Tuesday 31 January 2023

Britain is leading the campaign to secure education for girls and women across the developing world. This is not, of course, just about the numbers entering school, but about ratcheting up the quality of education overall.

I very much welcome the support that my right hon. Friend’s Department continues to provide to educate women around the world, but can he confirm that he will continue to work with our G7 allies to ensure that they play their part in helping us to get an additional 40 million girls into school by 2026?

I hardly dare answer my right hon. Friend’s question such is her expertise in this matter. I can tell her that the UK has committed to tackling the global education crisis through the girls’ education action plan, which was set up in 2021, and through two G7-endorsed global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 by 2026.

In Afghanistan, women are locked out of learning and girls are shut out of school, and the recent ban on aid workers has made the situation much worse. I think that we should stand with women and girls in Afghanistan, so will the Minister confirm that there will not be any cuts to the official development assistance going to Afghanistan?

The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows a great deal about Afghanistan from his deep experience. He is absolutely right to say that the violation of women’s rights in Afghanistan—particularly girls’ schooling—is absolutely outrageous. We are doing everything that we can in terms of expertise, money and influence around the world to ensure that we stop it.