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Education of girls, Lusaka Province, Zambia


African Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International and Comparative Education


While the education of girls is central to development in Africa, persisting obstacles have prevented the full implementation of this goal. African countries have made significant progress in expanding girls' participation in schooling, yet many girls remain unable to access and benefit from a quality education on an equal basis with boys. This study, involving interviews of 105 schoolgirls in and around Lusaka, Zambia in May 2012, describes and discusses the following obstacles: (1) discriminatory treatment that reflects the persistence of sexist ideas about the position and capabilities of girls; (2) sexual abuse of schoolgirls, including constant harassment by boy pupils and requests for sex by male teachers; and (3) issues of sexuality involving teen pregnancy and societal attitudes toward sex. After presenting these findings and situating them in the social and economic context of modern-day Zambia, the article sets forth a variety of recommendations for change, including those of the girls interviewed, approaches attempted by the Zambian government, and others emerging from this study.