Canada is doubling its aid to the Global Partnership for Education to $180 million over three years.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement while participating in a panel discussion on the education and empowerment of girls and women at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Thursday.
Trudeau argued education is the best way to improve outcomes in the developing world.
“Investing in women and girls is the most effective way of making a real and lasting difference,” he said.
Trudeau was joined on the panel by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala , the Oxford University student who as a girl was shot by the Taliban on her way to school in Pakistan.
She is now an honorary Canadian citizen.
“On behalf of 130 million girls, thank you and merci,” Yousafzai said after Trudeau announced the new funding.
“I hope that other countries can follow this example. I hope that one day we’ll see all girls receive a quality education.”
Yousafzai’s organization, the Malala Fund, also contributes to the Global Partnership for Education, which aims to strengthen education in developing countries.
‘We play as a team,’ says Rempel
On the panel, she outlined the many barriers girls face in the world when trying to get an education, from a lack of transportation and schools to culture, child labour practices and poverty.
Yousafzai said she hoped Oxford would forgive her for taking a few days off school because highlighting the need for better access to education for girls is so important.
Trudeau, a former school teacher, joked that he could write her a note.
Recently in Lebanon, Yousafzai told the story of meeting a Syrian refugee girl who dreamed of being an architect.
“She wants to be an architect because on the day she left Syria, she saw her country destroyed and devastated. That day she decided she will become an architect so one day she can rebuild her country,” Yousafzai recounted.
Trudeau used his presence on the panel to reiterate his argument that business and corporations have to hire more women, especially at senior levels.
G7 to focus on gender equality
“When you empower women, when you educate women, the conversations change, the types of success that is built changes,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister also elaborated on his announcement in his keynote speech on Tuesday about the creation of a G7 gender equality advisory council. Canada holds the G7 presidency this year and will host the summit.
“The council’s job is to make sure that everything the G7 does, all the meetings, all the commitments, all the initiatives that we partner in this year and hopefully into the future, have a gender lens. That everything is looked at in terms of how it respects, empowers, enables women to be more successful,” he said.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, who is at Davos as a delegate on a young leader’s program, says gender equality shouldn’t be a partisan debate.
“To have the leader of a G7 country stand up and make this a priority is something that is very important. When we’re on the international stage, we play as a team,” said Rempel.