End discrimination against girls who become pregnant—education is their right.

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Being a girl isn’t always easy. Across the globe, more than 130 million girls are out of school—all for preventable reasons. Whether it’s a lack of transportation or forced early marriage, girls are often denied their right to education.

A girl who is pregnant knows this all too well. She stops being seen as a girl. She is seen as a mother and her rights as a girl all but disappear, regardless of her age. In some countries, she's banned from school and deprived from taking exams no matter how high her exam results might have been.

Girls who are pregnant or parenting are seen as a failure, as if it were their fault. Oftentimes they have no control over the situation: Approximately 15 million adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide have experienced forced sex at some point in their life. And when a young girl becomes pregnant through "consensual sex," that is a failing of education systems and community support systems, which did not prepare her—and young men—for better choices.

We are calling upon governments worldwide to outlaw discrimination and to provide funding and programs to help girls who become pregnant earn a diploma.

Because a girl’s pregnancy status should not take away her right to education and a future.

Around the globe, young mothers are kept from school either by law or by custom. More than half of pregnant girls in the U.S. will find returning too complicated to navigate and will never graduate. While U.S. federal law forbids discrimination against pregnant and parenting students under Title IX, most schools are not accommodating to them, resulting in only 38 percent of teen mothers earning a high school diploma. In Tanzania, girls regularly undergo pregnancy tests at school and find themselves immediately expelled if the test returns positive. In Sierra Leone, girls who are pregnant are banned from attending school, amid worries that their presence will encourage other girls to become pregnant as well. Once they have been forced out, there is no easy path for return.

To illuminate this issue, Purposeful, a local movement-building organization for girls and their allies in Sierra Leone, and She's the First, a global organization supporting girls' education, created a video with girls who are directly impacted by these policies. Please add your voice to this petition to show solidarity and stand up for girls everywhere who deserve to complete their education, no matter their pregnancy or reproductive status.


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