10 Best Charities for Female Education (Complete 2021 List)
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Hey fellow impactful ninja 👋
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Out of the 1.3 million active charities registered in the United States, only 45,000 are focused on women and girls. That means that nonprofits working to help women overcome the various inequalities they face receive just 1.6% of charitable giving. What are some of the best charities for female education?
Some of the best charities for female education include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CAMFED, and the Care Foundation. These charities and foundations run educational programs and offer financial help to women in need of support.
In this article, we will explore ten great charities working toward equality for women. From national charities looking to better young girls’ chances of a college education to international foundations working to support underprivileged girls. If you are looking to get involved, the following is a list of charities focusing on female education.
Below are our favorite charities for female education (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Share & Care
- School Girls Unite
- Friendship Bridge
- Malala Fund
- Step Up
- Girls Who Code
- She’s The First
(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support. And we’ll give you an overview of how you can find out how to best support your chosen charity.)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2018, Melinda Gates wrote an inspiring op-ed in which she committed to donating $1 billion to help promote gender equality. In the piece, she noted how the lack of women in power positions is deemed normal in our society.
However, in the advent of the MeToo movement, Gates saw an opportunity to keep women’s stories in the limelight. Rather than letting the stories fade, she pledged a $1 billion donation to help expand women’s rights over the course of ten years.
In order to help close the gender gap, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made vital efforts to reach out to low-income women and girls in countries where they are often underrepresented. These include South Asia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda.
By working with partners to collect data, test policies, and help governments implement reforms, Gates hopes to provide women with more employment opportunities. In many cases, women are held back by several barriers:
- Lack of affordable childcare
- Lack of education opportunities
- No access to bank accounts
- Lack of flexibility in the workplace
- Unsafe work environments
By helping to break these barriers down, the hope is to pave the way for women to achieve higher-paying employment. One suggestion by the foundation is to allow women and mothers the chance to work from home in the event they cannot secure child care.
The foundation is also working to better understand gender roles and how they affect women and girls. For example, when females are expected to stay home and defer to their spouse or parents, they do not have access to education or any way of participating in the economy.
By testing new policies and programs, they hope to strengthen women’s right to earn money, get an education, and gain the power to make their own decisions.
Since 1993, CAMFED has supported more than 4.1 million students to attend both primary and secondary schools. With programs in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana, and Zambia, their goal is to invest in young women in some of the poorest and most rural communities of Saharan Africa.
CAMFED believes that every child has the right to a safe education and that they can help tackle poverty by providing education to young women. They focus on women because they know that girls are more likely to drop out of school due to early marriage and/or pregnancy.
As an international nonprofit, the organization is looking for systemic change to help young girls succeed. They have designed a unique model to help girls become independent and influential women.
The organization consists of three interworking branches:
- The CAMFED Association: This network of former CAMFED clients who organize and work on behalf of women and girls.
- CAMFED Champions: These are community members helping to advance and champion the women and girls that need support.
- CAMFED Operations: These operations are vital to CAMFED and include partnerships, program design, and governance.
These branches play a key role in CAMFED’s success and work closely together to ensure success. With it, they are able to sustain the program and provide more than 7 million students with a better education environment.
The CAMFED model looks to create systemic change by raising young girls out of poverty with a proper education, which will ultimately lead to more female leadership. They do this by providing mentors, school equipment, and a support system in all aspects of a young girl’s life. They pay school fees, provide essentials such as a uniform and books, along with ensuring a young girl’s access to sanitary protection.
Furthermore, CAMFED supports graduates beyond the classroom by offering training and additional resources to help young women become successful leaders.
Share & Care
From used clothes to equipment, shipments were made to help India’s remote areas take big leaps forward. Their initial donation consisted of 2,000 lbs (907 kgs) of used clothing, and their first fundraiser was able to raise $15,000.
From there, the foundation offered relief after a gas leak in Bhopal and medical equipment to villages, along with a student sponsorship program and a variety of scholarships.
In 2016 they celebrated ten years of success by helping 1,289 young people attend college. Some notable educational programs include:
- Science on Wheels: Providing 72 remote villages and 10,000 children with hands-on science experience.
- India Sponsorship Committee: Offering education for 1,400 children living in slums in Pune, Maharashtra.
- LIFE: Providing 40,000 children education and healthcare throughout Gujarat.
- Veerayatan: A 10-year program that offers quality education for 8,500 children in Bhuj, Kutch.
Though they strive to help all children to an education, Share & Care firmly believes in young women’s empowerment. They understand how “initiating interconnected programs such as education, basic healthcare, and women empowerment, we can create long-term impact and sustainable change.”
Using a number of signature programs, Share & Care is looking to bring education, healthcare, and empowerment to deserving women in rural India.
Educate 2 Success Program – E2S
In rural India, millions of children are forced to drop out of school and fall into a family cycle of poverty. These children are left unqualified and unable to work. The E2S program specifically looks to re-enroll children into school and support them through the completion of their education.
Along with their NGO partner, Light of Life Trust, the foundation has provided education and support to many children, 89% of whom pursue a college degree.
Educate 2 Graduate Program – E2G
The E2G program puts its focus on higher education by providing scholarships of $1,000 per year. This covers tuition fees along with school supplies and boarding expenses. Being a loan-scholarship, those with the means can offer to pay the money back to help fund another person’s education.
To date, the program has invested $1,135,000 into education, with 1,139 scholarships supported.
Women’s Empowerment Program
The women’s empowerment program aims to provide a safe space for women experiencing violence, injustice, discrimination, and emotional distress. They hope to offer enough support to allow these women to heal and take back control of their lives.
By funding several vocational training programs, the foundation can help 100,000 women financially with skill-building programs and vocational training.
School Girls Unite
School Girls Unite looks at using education and leadership to help tackle issues of prejudice girls face all over the world. They believe that 60 million girls without education are unacceptable and that proper education is the best way to eradicate poverty.
Some of the most common reasons young girls miss out on education include:
- Their families live in poverty and cannot afford school fees.
- Boys’ education is prioritized, and girls often don’t have access to sanitary products, meaning they often miss school when they have their periods.
- One-third of young girls in developing countries are married before the age of 18, at which point their education stops.
- In many countries, education is not a priority.
School Girls Unite runs solely from the generosity of donations. With enough money, they offer scholarships to young girls in Mali, paying for tuition, supplies, and tutors.
The young activists at the foundation are looking to their leaders to help make education a top priority. In addition, they are seeking gender equality and helping take steps to end child marriage.
Friendship Bridge’s mission is to create “opportunities that empower Guatemalan women to build a better life.” Beginning in Vietnam, Friendship Bridge moved from providing medical supplies to offering microcredit to impoverished women.
Due to the political climate, the foundation was forced to leave Vietnam and began work in Guatemala in 1998. Of their 90+ employees, 67% are women, and 60% are indigenous, intentionally representing the women they are trying to empower.
Their core values include:
Friendship Bridge specifically targets women in rural areas living in extreme poverty and are often highly uneducated. Many have just three years of formal education and high levels of illiteracy.
Microcredit Plus Program
With ambassadors and foundation officers speaking both Spanish and local languages, Friendship Bridge can offer these women renewable microloans, along with education in money management, women’s rights, health, and business. The loans average $350 in a four to twelve-month period.
Women within the microcredit program are given the opportunity to start and diversify their businesses. These often include raising livestock, roadside vending, and weaving. The clients borrow within a group and act as support for each other. When loans are repaid, that money is loaned back into the community once more.
Non-Formal Education Program
Groups of women that borrow from the program form a Trust Bank. This group meets regularly to discuss their businesses and manage the loans and repayments. It is an opportunity to develop leadership and management skills.
An informal education program is offered at these monthly meetings to help these women learn more about self-esteem, business management, and money management.
Due to the low literacy rates, interactive and visual learning is adopted, such as the use of illustrations and flip-charts.
In 1945, the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (Care) took ownership of 2.8 million food rations that were delivered as the world’s first Care packages. By 1955 the packages included baby food, soap, and toys, and the group had expanded into Israel, the Philippines, and Korea.
Over the next decade, Care responded to many natural disasters in Peru, Chile, Colombia, Vietnam, Algeria, and Sri Lanka. When President Kennedy created the Peace Corps in 1961, he asked Care to help train the new volunteers.
From 1966 to 1975, Care introduced family planning programs in Egypt that were soon undertaken in Honduras, Turkey, and India. These programs included education and partnerships within rural communities.
By the late 1990s, Care was at the forefront of women’s empowerment. Their education program for girls who had been forced to leave school in India was established in 1999. A similar program followed in 2000 in Cambodia.
When Care welcomed its new President and CEO in 2006, Dr. Helene Gayle, the organization adopted a full focus on young women and girls. Their goal of empowerment offers education, aid in maternal health, and better economic opportunities.
Today, Care is a worldwide nonprofit seeking to help end poverty. They know that this is not achievable without bringing girls and women to the forefront and reaching gender equality. They have established programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which all seek to educate and empower women, bringing equality and effective leadership.
Out of the 1.7 billion people without access to a bank account, more than 1 billion of them are women. Further, in 72 countries around the world, women are forbidden from opening an account or having access to credit. Care understands that helping women succeed is the right thing to do and good for the global economy.
Somali Girls’ Education Promotion Programme – Transition (SOMGEP-T)
Taking place in areas of ongoing conflict, extreme remoteness, and areas particularly vulnerable to droughts, the SOMGEP-T and Care work with communities and local schools to help develop better solutions for girls.
In many cases, seasonal migration will directly affect 48% of young girls and their access to education. Many young girls leave school before gaining basic skills, such as reading and writing. The total lack of secondary education further diminishes their opportunities.
This program hopes to give these young girls the chance to attend school regularly. The main goal is to give them access to literacy and numeracy skills, along with help in moving on to higher education and more potential for employment.
Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success II (STAGES II)
Though Afghanistan has made huge leaps forward in terms of education rates, girls represent just 39% of children enrolled in schools.
Only 40% of girls can finish their primary education. Reasons for this include:
- Traditional gender norms that suggest females should remain in the home
- Poverty on a large scale that hinders young girls’ access to supplies
- Distance to school being too great for a family to justify sending their daughters
- Early marriage is common amongst young girls and they more often stay home after the marriage
- A priority of boys education over that of young girls
STAGES II looks to better the education rate of young girls by strengthening communities and looking to government officials to help them sustain their schooling. Most girls are marginalized, living in rural and remote areas, very poor, have disabilities, and often do not speak the teacher’s language.
Their goal is to reach more than 22,000 girls, along with 9,000 boys by:
- Creating accelerated learning programs
- Providing secondary education classes in remote areas
- Better training for teachers
- Working toward community-based education
- Providing school supplies and materials
- Opening libraries
Strengthening Opportunities for Adolescent Resilience (SOAR)
SOAR is specifically aimed at girls who have either never attended school or who were forced to drop out at an early age. They seek to provide adolescent girls with a number of skills and the knowledge to better themselves and their communities.
With 4.1 million “last mile” girls supported through the program, SOAR helps those girls who face barriers to their education. From mental health issues to the rate of early marriages, these adolescent girls are supported with various learning programs and skill development, such as leadership.
Success stories include:
- 95% of girls in the program passed the National Indian exams
- 88% of participants in Nepal finished the program able to read
- 7% rather than the national 40% average were in danger of early marriage
In 2013, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai started the Malala fund. Their goal is to help provide free and safe education to girls worldwide.
Born to a teacher who ran a school for young girls, Malala’s education was cut short in 2008 when the Taliban took control of her community and banned learning. After four years of traveling to school and speaking out about the unfair treatment she and other girls were subject to, a gunman boarded her school bus and shot Malala in the head.
Malala survived the attack and moved with her family to the UK, where she was able to rehab and recover from her injuries.
Together with her father, Malala sought to fight for a young girls’ right to an education, and in 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the youngest-ever Nobel laureate. Malala went on to study at Oxford University.
Since its inception, the Malala Fund has invested in developing countries to provide education and works to hold government leaders accountable to change.
To date, the fund is active in eight different countries, with 62 education champions and $22 million in programs funded. Their focus on local educators and advocates provides a clear path to prevent young girls from facing barriers in their education.
The Malala Fund Education Champion Network was established “to identify, invest in, and scale the work of promising local advocates and educators.” By working in localities, they hope to encourage local and national policy changes to support young girls and their drive for educational success.
Currently, the fund is supporting Education Champions in:
The fund encourages activism and often brings young girls to meetings with world leaders, giving them a chance to voice themselves.
The Step Up Organization was founded in 1998. Based in Los Angeles, this program is for girls in urban areas between the ages of 13 and 18. These girls often go to school in under-resourced areas and are less likely to seek higher education.
Using a network of volunteers and mentors, Step Up hopes to help girls achieve their full potential. The passionate women volunteering their time commit their support and mentorship, seeing these girls through graduating high school.
Through the program, young girls can prepare for high school graduation and work with mentors to plan for their life after high school. Of the girls in the program, 98-100% graduate high school and move on to college.
By creating after school programs and focusing on mentorships, girls in participating high schools can learn how to focus on their education and career goals. Each two-hour session works toward educating and empowering these girls to strive for more.
Step Up’s Mentorship Model
Group mentorship brings together professional women and at-risk teens to help inspire and support their futures. After school programs can be found in several schools in the following cities:
- New York
- Los Angeles
Pathways to Professions Program
This program offers the girls the chance to leave the classroom and experience corporate life through field trips with established mentors.
Seeing women at work is believed to inspire a drive and a sense of purpose in the girls.
Girls Who Code
As the demand for programmers increases, jobs in computer coding are becoming more desirable. However, only 24% of computer scientists today are women. Girls Who Code is looking to close the gender gap and significantly increase the number of women in tech.
Jobs in tech are often lucrative, adaptable, and a stepping stone to working for yourself and building something new. However, with just 34.4% of employees at the top five tech companies being women, there is still work to be done.
Girls Who Code do not look to simply teach girls a new skill. They also look to empower girls to thrive in the workforce and create equal standing in a male-driven industry.
They achieve this through:
- After school clubs: These free clubs offer one to two hours per week for girls between 3rd and 12h grade.
- College loops: Designed for girls enrolled in college who are interested in learning coding or something else in the technology field. It gives them the chance to build a support system with weekly meetings and relationships within the industry.
- Summer Immersion Program: This two-week program allows girls to learn a variety of computer science skills virtually. The community is designed to help prepare them for a potential career in tech and get them exposure within the industry.
- Code at home: These weekly activities are released online for varying skill levels. The idea is to practice at home with fun and innovative projects to get girls involved and keep them interested.
She’s The First
At She’s The First, their community of advocates believes that every girl deserves an education. They seek out and help fund girls’ education and help their communities build up and flourish.
Their funding allows for flexibility within partner organizations to ensure that girls attend school, in addition to receiving support with health and reproductive rights, life skills, and mentorship.
A good education can change a girl’s whole future. She’s The First works in 11 different countries with 12 community-based partner organizations. These organizations support girls in attending school and also with after school programs.
They work to provide education by:
- Training in Communities: By offering training within the community, She’s The First offers a local support system and the vital first line of defense for girls who would otherwise be denied an education.
- Amplifying Girls’ Voices: Giving these girls a seat at the table shows them that they matter and that having opinions matters.
How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?
The charities on this list are, we deem, the best charities for female education. But don’t just take our word for it! You might want to do your own due diligence for each of these – as you should. Or for a particular charity that you may have in mind.
Either way, check out our six-step approach to select the best charity to support:
- Check out the charity website and their mission. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. The website is the best place to start. And while you are on it, also check out their mission to see how clearly you align with it.
- Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
- Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
- Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
- Double-check the charity’s independent ratings. Two great places for this are Charity Navigator, the largest database on charities that analyze their financial health, accountability, and transparency, and Charity Watch, which details the amount of money spent on charitable activities versus overheads.
- Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place.
How You Can Support Your Favorite Charity?
After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you.
Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:
- Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
- Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
- Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
- Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
- Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
- Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.
There are several charities that are specifically seeking to empower and educate young women. From local charities in the US looking to encourage girls to seek higher education to foundations working to provide girls in the developing world with life skills to better themselves and their families, there is still so much to be done.
All of the charities mentioned take donations if you decide you want to help. If you are looking to get more involved, organizations like Step Up and Girls Who Code are always looking for mentors.
Another way to help is by sharing charity information on social media to help raise awareness.
PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:
- Fast Company: Nonprofits focused on women and girls receive just 1.6% of all charitable giving
- Times: Melinda Gates
- CAMFED: Home Page
- CAMFED: About Us
- Share & Care: History Timeline
- Share & Care: Education
- Share & Care: Overview
- School Girls Unite: Ecucation For All
- Friendship Bridge: About
- Kiva: Where Kiva Works
- Care: History of Care
- Care: Education and Work
- Care: Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success II
- Care: Strengthening Opportunities for Adolescent Resilience
- Malala: Malala’s Story
- Malala: Malala’s Champions
- Step Up: What We Do
- Girls Who Code: About Us
- She’s The First: What We Do