Educated women start companies and run countries. They research vaccines and build machines and much more. But only a fraction of women in the world are working and earning at their full potential. To create a more equal workforce we need to educate all girls.
Group of 20 leaders represent the world's strongest economies. They promote global growth and stability, discuss challenges and take collective action to solve them. At the G-20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29, the best investment leaders can make in building stable and prosperous economies is in girls' education.
Education enables girls to live out their most ambitious dreams. When millions more girls can learn the skills they need to thrive, millions more women can help drive industries and countries forward. Research by the Malala Fund and the World Bank revealed that if all girls completed secondary school, they could add up to $30 trillion to the global economy.
Investing in girls' education also promotes peace, improves public health and helps countries reduce the effects of climate change.
Yet more than 130 million girls aged between six and 17 are out of school. And as technology changes the way we live, learn and earn, almost one billion girls and young women lack the skills they need to participate in the modern workforce.
Without support, girls in developing countries will have an even tougher time than they do today finding secure work. Global unemployment will rise and labor gaps will widen -- with millions of jobs open and not enough educated workers to fill them.
To avoid a global skills crisis, the G-20 must direct new funding and technical support toward education and ensure that girls can help close predicted workforce shortages. At the Buenos Aires summit last year, G-20 leaders officially recognized -- for the first time -- the crucial link between girls' education and global prosperity. This year, we need action.
At the World Assembly of Women in Tokyo in March, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated his intent to work with fellow leaders to create a world where all girls can access a quality secondary education. The Prime Minister can now use Japan's presidency of the G-20 to invest in preparing young women for the modern workforce.
Japan's unique development aid philosophy, founded on the concept of human security, has driven progress on global health -- including helping to found the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB and by promoting strong national health infrastructure.
Japan can deploy the same mix of prime ministerial leadership, private sector innovation and parliamentary commitment to tackle today's great human security challenge -- global education.
Girls defy expectations everyday. No matter the barrier -- child marriage, poverty, displacement -- girls fight to stay in school because they know education can offer them more control over their lives. They speak out for their rights, train other girl activists and organize marches. Leaders should not let girls' initiative and potential continue to go untapped.
A world where all girls can learn and lead is achievable in this lifetime and we hope Japan's G-20 will lead the way.
Malala Yousafzai is co-founder of Malala Fund and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Haruno Yoshida co-chair, W20 Japan and an adviser to Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), and Kathy Matsui, vice chair, Goldman Sachs Japan, co-authored this article