MP STEPHEN Morgan joined the students of Portsmouth High School as part of an initiative looking at the role of gender inequality within global poverty.
The topic was covered during a visit from the One Campaign – an organisation dedicated to ending global poverty.
The key areas of discussion focused on the emancipation of women and the fact in many cultures girls are still not afforded the same opportunities as boys.
Campaign activist, Oliver Templeman, 27, said: ‘Many of the Portsmouth girls were shocked to hear that 33,000 girls become child brides every day – meaning every minute roughly the same number of girls of similar age to those who are here today are being married.’
Much of the debate focused around access to education and the disproportionate number of girls who cannot access formal schooling.
‘One of the biggest challenges to eradicate poverty for women is the fact that two thirds of those who are illiterate are women and girls. Globally there are 130 million girls who are not receiving an education which represents 130 million lost opportunities,’ said Mr Templeman.
The visit of the One Campaign allowed students at the all girls school to use skype to share the discussion with female students from a primary school in Kuchibena in Nigeria. During the call, one of the girls revealed that a friend had recently been married off to a man twice her age.
Deputy headmistress, Heather Trim, said: ‘The girls at Portsmouth High School, across a range of year groups, enjoyed taking part in the One Campaign link up with girls from Nigeria. For our pupils, to learn first-hand about the experiences of girls across the world who may experience extreme poverty is humbling and we hope that we all can lend our voice to this campaign.’
The debate was chaired by Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan.
Mr Morgan said: ‘These students - both in Portsmouth and Nigeria - are the next generation and will shape the world we live in. They could be the generation to see an end to extreme poverty and preventable diseases, but we need to act now. I’m proud to work with the One Campaign and Portsmouth High School to make this ambition a reality.’