The UK government’s 2020 spending review includes a cut in international aid, from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%. My research shows that this will have severe effects on the lives of girls worldwide.

Earlier this year, my colleagues and I at the University of Cambridge published a report highlighting the urgent need for political leadership to address a global learning crisis in girls’ education in low and middle-income countries.

That review was commissioned by what is now the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. It contained powerful reflections by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, who commented: “This problem has a real cost – not only in loss of talent and potential – but on communities, societies, and the global economy … It is time for leaders to step up and act.”

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