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When Girls Don't Graduate, We All Fail

Report on the Dropout Crisis for Girls

A report from the National Women's Law Center (2007) provides a look at the dropout crisis for girls.

When Girls Don't Graduate, We All Fail ( PDF) finds that girls, and especially female students of color, are dropping out of high school at dangerously high rates. The report further finds that the economic consequences of dropping out are particularly steep for women, who face especially poor employment prospects, low earnings potential, poor health status, and the need to rely on public support programs. The report demonstrates that the high school dropout problem is a problem for boys – and girls.

The report identifies some of the barriers leading to, and the risk factors for, dropping out that are of particular importance to girls. And it offers these recommendations for reducing girls' dropout rates: 

  • Increasing research on gender-based differentials and designing targeted interventions based on that research

  • Improving data collection

  • Increasing school accountability for dropouts

  • Providing additional support for pregnant and parenting students

  • Ensuring girls have equal access to career and technical education training for high-skill, high-wage jobs and after-school programs, including athletics

  • Protecting students from sexual harassment and bullying

  • Ensuring that students know how to report sex discrimination.

Many of these recommendations will help boys as well.