Advances in global education, health and technology have helped empower individuals like never before, leading to increased demands for transparency and participation in government and public decision-making. These changes will continue, and are ushering in a new era in human history in which, by 2022, more people will be middle class than poor.1
Today, the global literacy rate is 84 percent2, the status of women is improving, millions are being lifted out of poverty and the internet provides a platform to anyone with a connection to be heard and mobilize. Still, concerns around stable employment, quality and cost of education and access to quality healthcare remain. Inequality is also an issue for governments to carefully monitor. Overall, a focus on investing in girls' and women's education is also critical for eliminating poverty, lessening inequality and driving economic and social development. For example, women's wages, agricultural income and productivity – which are all critical for reducing poverty – are higher where women involved in agriculture receive a better education3. Consequently; growing individual empowerment will present numerous challenges to government structures and processes, but if harnessed, could unleash significant economic development and social advancement.