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Education promotes international development and expands opportunities and life choices for both boys and girls. But gender inequality in education continues around the world. In fact, worldwide, sixty-million girls remain out of school.

Girls' education is one of the most powerful tools for development that exists. Equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to lift their families and communities out of poverty and drive economic growth for their countries. Education is the route to this power.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is working to close the educational gap between boys and girls with a new program known as the Power to Lead Alliance. It is a public-private partnership between the USAID and CARE USA, a leading humanitarian organization, that promotes leadership in girls aged 10 to 14 in vulnerable communities in Egypt, Honduras, India, Malawi, Tanzania, and Yemen. The program was inaugurated in September 2008 and will continue through September 2011.

CARE's goal is to help ten million vulnerable girls complete primary school and to practice their leadership skills. As part of the Power to Lead Alliance, girls will participate in sports, public speaking, computer lessons, planning and management, and financial and legal literacy.

"When women are accorded their rights and afforded equal opportunities in education, health care and gainful employment," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "they drive social and economic progress. When they are marginalized and mistreated. . .prosperity is impossible." The U.S. remains committed to the full empowerment of women everywhere. "And when we think about poverty that grinds the spirit and the life out of so many women," said Secretary Clinton, "we have to resolve to do our part, to make it easier for women to have the chance to live up to their God-given potential." Educating girls is the first step in that direction.

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