For too many girls and women around the world, access to quality education is often limited. Two-thirds of all illiterate adults in the world are women, and not even seven percent of the world’s population has a college education. Education can equip all of us to challenge many of the global issues impacting women – poverty, oppression, misogyny, brutality. Ultimately, more and more educated girls will mean stronger and healthier villages, communities, and entire countries. And education will eradicate poverty.
Quality schooling can serve as an emancipator from poverty and lead to a better life for a woman and her family. The Circle of Sisterhood exists today to help make that better life possible by removing barriers to education and creating sustainable change for girls and women around the globe.
“One study after another has shown that educating girls is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty. Schooling is often a precondition for girls and women to stand up against injustice, and for women to be integrated into the economy. Until women are numerate and literate, it is difficult for them to start businesses or contribute meaningfully to their economies.”
Half the Sky
The book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn inspired Ginny Carroll, Circle of Sisterhood’s Founder. In the book, the authors share their first-hand accounts of visits to poor countries across the globe where women are subjected daily to violence and oppression solely because of their gender and girls lack the opportunity to go to school, keeping them locked in a life of poverty.
As a sorority woman, Ginny related what she learned from Kristof and WuDunn with her own understanding of the oppression American women experienced in the 1800s when trying to achieve a higher level of education, which fueled the sorority movement. As a college-educated woman when not even 7% of the world’s population has that privilege, she felt a responsibility to do something to help girls and women around the world pursue an education.
However, Ginny knew she could not do it alone; as just one person, her impact would be insignificant. But she was well-acquainted with and connected in one of the largest communities of college-educated women she knew would help—sorority women.
Why Sorority Women?
Many sororities were founded in the 19th century in response to numerous obstacles to women achieving a college education. Sorority founders bonded together fiercely to fight for their right to pursue higher degrees. Today, more than 170 years later—and millions-strong—we vow to continue the legacy of our founders by standing together to help girls and women go to school around the world because every girl deserves to be educated.
Without education, girls and women are unable to reach their full potential. Sorority women are fortunate to have the one thing that will help women out of poverty—an education. As such, we have a responsibility to use our privilege to contribute to the many ways in which educational inaccessibility can be eradicated for girls and women worldwide.
Since the Circle of Sisterhood’s formation in 2010, individual alumnae and sorority communities on college campuses across North America have engaged in this global humanitarian effort to remove barriers to education. This movement by sorority women has impacted girls and women in 30 countries on four continents.
“Education is one of the most influential roles in creating opportunities and is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty. When women are educated it gives them a voice and empowers them to make decisions for themselves. Education opens the door for numerous jobs and boosting the economy and well being of women.”
School Build Trek Participant