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An Indian bicycle program is having a revolutionary impact on the lives of young girls

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Village girls walk with bicycles they received from their school under a government scheme in Malancha, South 24 Pargana district, India, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

When suffragist leader Susan B. Anthony saw a bicycle, it wasn’t just a way to get around; it was a tool for self-liberation. “I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world,” Anthony said in 1896. “It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.”

More than a century later, it looks like Anthony’s assessment was right. A program designed to close the education gap among girls in Bihar, India, had tremendous success. Since then Nishith Prakash, professor of public policy and economics at Northeastern University, and a team of researchers helped bring the program to Zambia as part of another successful trial. With hopes of bringing similar programs to half a dozen more countries, Prakash says bicycles could be a powerful tool for public policy and empowerment.

“We find huge effects on female empowerment, and we also find that for these girls [in Zambia], attendance went up by 45%. These girls walk, by the way, 110 minutes to school, one way. That went down to 35 to 36 minutes. Coming to school on time … went up by 66%.”

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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Northeastern Global News