United Nations, Feb 11 (EFE).- Singer Bono and the United Nations on Tuesday denounced the “dramatic disadvantage” in education being suffered by female teenagers around the world and called on everyone and all nations to join the “Drive for Five” initiative to ameliorate the situation.
The leader of the band U2, addressing the UN, called the “catastrophic” lack of education for teenage girls in much of the world – a situation that affects some 130 million children – an “invisible” but “lethal” sickness.
Pushed by UN Women and by the ONE campaign of U2 frontman Paul David Hewson, whose goes by his stage name Bono, Drive for Five is calling for 12 years of guaranteed free and quality education for all at the same time it is proposing five key actions.
The initiative includes providing places where teenage girls can study, along with giving them confidence in themselves, teaching them appropriate talents and guaranteeing their safety, along with their health and well-being.
The singer-songwriter, musician, venture capitalist, businessman, and philanthropist emphasized during his speech at the gathering – in which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the executive director of UN Women, South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka participated – that it could be some of the teens who benefit from this education who find the solutions to some of humanity’s biggest problems, including climate change.
The Irish singer said that the world needs brilliant women, adding that teenage girls not only need access to school but also to science teaching.
Mlambo-Ngcuka also took advantage of the event, organized by Ireland’s UN mission, to say that in her judgment education is the “best investment” that can be made in the future of mankind.
The former vice president of South Africa added that it is the only thing that, once people acquire it, can never be taken away.
Meanwhile, Guterres said that only through educating all teenage girls and “parity” in the overall educational system can the day finally come where societies enjoy gender equality.
The UN chief said that, if he were asked what the main priority for achieving a better world is, he would say that it’s quality education for all, adding that the first priority within that main priority is quality education for girls.
Specifically, he said that one of the trends that concerns him most is the lack of women in the technological business sector, especially in the Silicon Valleys of the world.
These are the centers that are shaping the economies and the societies of the future, Guterres said, adding that if the overwhelming male presence in this sector is not reversed, the world runs the risk of backsliding again on the current trend toward creating equal power relationships between men and women.
The education of women in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is absolutely essential from the point of view of gender equality in the future, Guterres said.
Also participating in the event was the leader of the international collective known as The Elders and the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, and Ireland’s permanent representative to the UN, Geraldine Byrne Nason.
The attendees were also able to listen to speeches by five young people, who recounted their educational careers, four of them from countries in conflict – including Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan – and who had to face violence and lack of security to be able to continue going to school.
On the other hand, the fifth teenager, who is Irish, spoke about all the advantages that she has thanks to the free primary and secondary education system her country has enjoyed since 1960.