Story at a glance
- During his campaign, President Biden committed to promoting education for girls worldwide, which has been heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- At an upcoming meeting of the Group of Seven, world leaders are scheduled to discuss funding for millions of girls.
- England has already cut its budget for global girls education in part due to the pandemic’s toll on the economy.
Even before the Group of Seven meets to discuss a plan for funding girls’ education around the world, the budget is already taking a hit after the United Kingdom cut its commitment by more than $300 million.
Leaders are expected to agree to a $15-billion package at the G7 summit in London that will send 40 million more girls from low- and middle- income countries to school over five years, reported the BBC, in addition to helping 20 million more girls read by age 10. But the U.K. has set a $555.4-million USD cap on its commitment, cutting the average budget over previous years by more than 40 percent, reported The Guardian.
"We know the reality of these aid cuts," Gwen Hines from Save the Children told BBC. "Life-changing, life-saving support [is] being pulled from families in the middle of a pandemic from schooling, medicine and food. I just don't see how that is global leadership at a time when the UK is hosting the G7 summit."
U.K. leaders defended the cuts, noting that the global coronavirus pandemic has tightened purse strings across the board.
"We are experiencing a once in a 300-year - the worst in 300 years - economic contraction as a direct result of coronavirus," Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told BBC. "We have to make the decisions in keeping with those economic circumstances."
President Biden, who last month signed an executive order addressing the rights of women and girls worldwide, has previously committed to promoting girls' education globally during his campaign. Around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, according to UNESCO estimates, which means millions more will not be covered by the proposed plan.
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