"Education: The Necessary Utopia"
"While education is widely recognized as a fundamental human right of every individual, in practice, many boys, girls, men and women have been historically locked out of educational systems. Minority girls face the greatest challenges. Their burdens are a unique intersection of discrimination based on ethnicity, restrictive traditional roles for women and in most cases, endemic poverty. Girls from minority groups also often live in remote geographic locations that are neglected by government social services. Often, they have to travel great distances to the nearest school, thereby multiplying the risks to the personal security of girls. When occurring together, these barriers can be almost insurmountable. The ramifications of being denied the right to a quality education are vast. Without strides in girls’ education, minority groups are likely to face further economic and social marginalization." 
"The reduction of the gender gap and the improvement in female access to education were explicit objectives of the IV Conference on Women (1995), of the World Education Forum (2000) and of the Millennium Summit (2000). All International Conferences promoted by the United Nations Organization (UN) recommend actions to eradicate discrimination against women in all fields of activity, especially education. The gender gap and the education deficit among women have always been part of the Brazilian reality. However, women have been able to eliminate and reverse this gap throughout the 20th century." 
"The gender gap and a shortfall in education for women were part of the Brazilian reality for almost 450 years. [... the] reversal of the gender gap in education was the biggest conquest of Brazilian women in the last century. This female triumph, however, has still not been sufficient to reverse the gender gap in the labor market, in access to income and property, in parliamentary representation, etc. Victory in the educational field has still not met with the same success in other spheres of activity, but undoubtedly the educational progress of Brazilian women may serve as an example for the leaders of other countries in the world who want to eliminate the gender gap, in line with the objectives established in various multilateral conferences organized by the UN. "
IN MY VIEW:
The greatest challenges and barriers that girls (and women in general) confront (in my community and my country as a whole) to accessing an education can be summarized as:
a) geographic barriers (access to schools in far out regions);
b) inclusive education for minorities:
- children with disabilities (near 24% of all Brazilian population has some kind of disability),
- indian (native Brazilian indians),
- "quilombolas" (descendants from African slaves) = Maroons?
- rural inhabitants;
c) lack of quality school: nowadays, the ability to read and write is nothing! In other words: getting a certificate means nothing if you have attended a poor quality school;
d) constraints from labor market (many positions do not require full education and disincourage full schooling for girls);
e) family support conflicting with school time: very poor families still do not send girls to school even if it is mandatory in Brazil. In such cases, they stay at home helping with domestic chores and/or start working too early to help the family income.
These and other barriers to education are more widespread and stronger in rural and / or underveloped areas (Northern and Northeaster regions) of Brazil.
How such girls would be able to overcome these barriers?
> The family and the community (context) play a major role!
How? They can overpower these barriers to some extent.
Examples: demanding and fighting for schools of quality, for free transportation to school, for full-time schools (that also provide meals and study support and materials).
> Public policies also have an important role: schooling stipend (small amount of money to encourage and support girls´ families that would otherwise put them to work). So, in Brazil, the Bolsa Escola (School Scholarship) has had a great impact as much as the legislation requiring mandatory 9 years of basic school for everybody. Also, "Brazil’s Bolsa Familia cash transfer programme – which pays families a certain amount per month provided their children go to school – has played a key role in the reduction of child labour both in rural and urban areas." 
> In this context (education as a human right), one cannot forget the education, qualification, career and wages policies (federal, state, county leves) for teachers (mostly women). They are the backbone of a school of quality. It happens when teachers are well educated, trained, rewarded and recognized for such an important role. In this context, there is still a long road ahead.
> Last but not the least, the main weapon against violence against women is education!
A - "Even considering that there are still sexist differences in education, Brazil is an example of a country that has managed to reverse the gender gap in education and eliminate the educational shortfall of women relative to men. In this aspect the female victory has been spectacular, although the level and quality of Brazilian education lags far behind that of other countries that have the same level of social and economic development." 
However, "female conquests in the educational field have not been accompanied to the same degree by conquests in the labor market." 
B - My part in it?
Contributing to spread the word, the resources and the functionalities available freely online that can support, assist, encourage, enhance and add to women´s education and learning, specially those with disabilities or living in remote areas.
 Challenges Facing Minority Girls in Education. Discussion #8, Summary of UNGEI eDiscussion on Challenges Facing Minority Girls in Education October 2009. Available at http://www.ungei.org/news/index_2222.html Access: April 22. 2013.
 Beltrão, Kaizô Iwakami, & Alves, José Eustáquio Diniz. (2009). Reversal of the gender gap in Brazilian education in the 20th century. Cadernos de Pesquisa, 39(136), 125-156. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-15742009000.... 10.1590/S0100-15742009000100007.
 ILO. International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC): ILO report shows why social protection is crucial to tackle child labour (press release). Availalble at http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/media-centre/press-releases/WCMS... Access: April 29, 2013.