How can marginalized girls and young women access quality learning opportunities to succeed?
Compared to their male counterparts, girls and young women around the world have unequal access to quality education. Today, out of the 132 million girls worldwide who are out of school—including 52 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone—16 million will never set foot in a classroom. For those who do, enrollment decreases as they progress through the education system. Reflective of this inequity in access, over two-thirds of the world’s 773 million illiterate adults are women.
With more education, girls and young women earn higher wages, are less susceptible to infectious diseases, have lower maternal and newborn mortality rates, are less likely to marry as children or against their will, have more productive agricultural plots, and build greater resilience in the face of the effects of climate change. If every girl worldwide received 12 years of quality education, lifetime earnings for women could increase by up to $30 trillion globally, boosting the GDPs of entire countries worldwide.
Despite these gains, significant barriers such as poverty, early marriages, cultural and social practices, gender biases, and unsafe or unwelcoming learning environments continue to inhibit girls and young women from enrolling in school at all levels and reaching pivotal learning milestones. While great strides have been made in improving educational opportunities for girls and young women, innovations are needed where existing models have failed.
The MIT Solve community is looking for technology-based solutions that level the playing field for girls and young women throughout their learning journey, from birth up to age 24. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
- Increase the number of girls and young women participating in formal and informal learning and training;
- Strengthen practical skills, competencies, and experiential learning opportunities, particularly in STEM and digital literacy, for girls and young women to effectively transition from education to employment;
- Reduce the barriers that prevent girls and young women—especially those living in conflict and emergency situations—from reaching key learning milestones; and
- Promote gender-inclusive and gender-responsive education for everyone, including gender non-binary and transgender learners.
Solver Funding, Prize, and Partnership Eligibility for the Learning for Girls & Women Challenge
All solutions selected for Solve’s four current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 20, 2020.
In addition to Solve funding, the following prizes are available to Solver teams selected for the Learning for Girls & Women Challenge. To be considered for a prize, complete the prize-specific question within the application. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Learning for Girls & WomenChallenge:
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion is open to solutions that advance the economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees. The prize is funded by Andan Foundation, a Swiss non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting solutions that promote refugee resilience, self-reliance and integration. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve’s four current Global Challenges.
Innovation for Women Prize
Solutions that use innovative technology to improve quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. This prize is funded by the Vodafone Americas Foundation, which supports technology-focused projects that advance the needs of women and girls, and that promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams from any of Solve’s four current Global Challenges.
The GM Prize on Learning for Girls and Women
Solutions that encourage access to learning opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable girls and women, including access to STEM education, are eligible for the GM Prize on Learning for Girls and Women, made possible by General Motors. Up to $75,000 will be granted to up to three Solver teams within the Learning for Girls and Women Challenge, along with the opportunity to visit GM headquarters to meet with engineers and discuss solution scaling.