Girls are like leaves on the wind

Publication Subtitle

How gender expectations impact girls' education - a closer look from West Nile, Uganda

Publication year


Publication Author

Kirsten Stoebenau, Ann Warner, Jeffrey D. Edmeades and Magnolia Sexton

In most places around the world, girls are now just as likely to be enrolled in primary school as boys. This is, however, not the case for girls in sub-Saharan African nations, where they remain behind, especially at the secondary level. In West Nile, Uganda women’s rates of schooling are far below the national average. For every ten male secondary students enrolled, six female students are enrolled.

ICRW’s report, “Girls Are Like Leaves on the Wind” examines the factors that contribute to girls ages 14 through 18 dropping out of school in two regions of West Nile, Uganda: Adjumani and Arua. The report examines the complex factors that determine school dropout among girls, highlighting the ways in which gendered expectations and norms may influence girls’ education.

The report also contains a host of recommendations on how governments and communities can ensure girls remain in school, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education, improved outreach efforts to re-enroll girls in school if they have dropped out, and a focus on programs that can help shift gender norms among women, men, girls and boys.