Hillary Clinton pushes school program for girls

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NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a $600 million effort Wednesday to enroll girls in secondary schools around the globe, aiming to address security and access problems in the developing world.

The former secretary of state unveiled the plan at the Clinton Global Initiative to help 14 million girls typically between the ages of 11 and 16 to attend school. The initiative, carried out via her family's foundation, aims to improve the quality, safety and security at schools around the world.

"We know when girls have equal access to quality education in both primary and secondary schools, cycles of poverty are broken, economies grow, glass ceilings crack and potential is unleashed," Clinton said.

Clinton has promoted the advancement of women and girls around the world through an initiative at the foundation called "No Ceilings." The former first lady and New York senator is expected to announce by early next year whether she will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Philanthropic groups and non-governmental organizations have sought to address the gap in secondary education and security concerns for young girls in the aftermath of the kidnapping of dozens of young women by Boko Haram in Nigeria. The issue received global attention following the 2012 attack on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who received world acclaim after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating gender equality and education for women.

Clinton's foundation noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, 1.5 million fewer girls than boys attend secondary schools. The initiative, which will be led by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, includes more than 30 partners, including the United States, Nepal, the United Kingdom and Discovery Communications.

The final day of the annual conference put Clinton on stage with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who discussed his country's attempts to give women a greater role in the nation's work force and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, whose company announced plans to provide female entrepreneurs in Peru with business education and access to capital.


Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP\_Ken\_Thomas

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