Girls, Interrupted

Apr 29, 2021

“I think it is a crisis of a dimension that is going to be even bigger than the health crisis that the pandemic has been, and it’s going to have an impact for generations…Once a girl has lost years of education and once she’s dropped out of school, there are all sorts of social ills that happen: sexual exploitation, early marriage, early childbirth and other things that have impacts for many, many years.”

—Dr. Maliha Khan

A shape-shifting event like the global pandemic affects almost everyone on the planet—but it especially affects children. They have seen their education, social, mental, and physical health development, and nutrition badly—perhaps permanently—damaged. And what’s bad for kids is worse for girls, because in too many countries, especially in low- and middle-income countries, girls don’t have anywhere near adequate access to schools, health care, or even food.

The Malala Fund, launched by Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, is dedicated to a simple proposition: all girls, everywhere should have free, safe, quality education. In this episode of the New Thinking for a New World Podcast, Dr. Maliha Khan, one of the leaders of the Malala Fund, talks about how the pandemic has made that goal even more difficult to achieve.

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Dr. Maliha Khan is Chief Programmes Officer at Malala Fund, spearheading the effective delivery of programmatic work for girls’ education, including the Malala Fund Education Champions Network. Dr Khan is an international expert in program design and performance, learning, and accountability, with a focus on women and girls’ empowerment. She has designed rights-based programs focused on women and girls, been a professor of gender studies, and has implemented women’s programs in marginalized regions of Pakistan.

Dr. Khan is from Pakistan, has a Ph.D. from the State University of New York, and a MA from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad in Social Anthropology. She is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council South Asia Center, and a trustee for CARE International.


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