Today, we stand together with Malala and the millions of other girls and women who are risking their lives to get an education.
This is essential for their own futures. Girls with secondary schooling are far less likely to become child brides. They are more likely to earn better incomes when they begin working. They will have smaller families, and their children will be healthier.
So getting an education is important to the future of every individual girl. It is also important for all of us collectively. Because when men and women have the same opportunities to an education, societies are better off economies flourish public health improves and democracies become more stable.
The evidence is clear and the debate should be over. Closing the education gap is a powerful prescription for economic growth.
But all over the world, girls still face enormous obstacles to an education. In fact, most of the children who are not in school are girls. And the numbers are especially high in developing countries and countries torn apart by conflict.
That's why the United States is supporting the UN Secretary General's Education First initiative and the goals of Education for All, so that more girls receive a quality education, and become active citizens in their societies.
On behalf of Malala and countless other girls who share her dream, let us continue to champion their right to an education -- and let us expose those who would deny it. Together, we can build a world where opportunity and education remain a powerful force for progress.