Yesterday evening, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) celebrated the recent enactment of the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act. The bipartisan legislation seeks to expand girls’ access to education by addressing the unique barriers they face, such as child marriage, human trafficking and gender-based violence.

Key excerpts, as prepared for delivery:

“[E]ducation is transformational,” said Chairman Royce. “We all recognize the importance of education as a driver of economic growth, social mobility and stability. Education raises workforce productivity, empowers men and women to better care for themselves and their families and improves maternal and child health. In general, communities committed to the education of both men and women tend to be more stable and peaceful…

“Worldwide, 62 million girls are out of school. Two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women. And, in conflict zones, girls are more than twice as likely as boys to be out of school. Many girls are either pulled out of school or denied the opportunity to seek an education for heartbreaking reasons like child marriage and human trafficking…

“We must do our best to ensure that all children, especially those in conflict-affected areas, have access to education because education offers opportunities – the chance to get a decent job, to escape poverty and violence and to provide for a healthy family. …Put simply, education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and in its future.”