Today, there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. It is the largest cohort in human history. Meeting their needs will be a big challenge. But it's also a big opportunity.
They hold our shared future in their hands. Every day, we read about young people lending their ideas and passions to fighting for change, social change, political change, change in their communities. Imagine what they'll create: breakthroughs, inventions. Maybe new medicines, new modes of transportation, new ways to communicate, sustainable economies and maybe even a world at peace. But this opportunity, this youth dividend, is not a given.
One point eight billion young women and young men are standing at the door of adulthood. Are they ready? Right now, too few of them are. My favorite part of my job at UNICEF is a chance to talk to, meet with and hear from young people all around the world. And they tell me about their hopes and dreams. And they have amazing hopes and dreams for what they'll accomplish in their lives. But what they're also telling me is that they have fears.
They feel that they're facing a series of urgent crises. A crisis of demographics, a crisis of education, a crisis of employment, a crisis of violence and a crisis for girls. If you look at these crises, you realize that they're urgent and they need to be addressed now. Because they tell us that they're worried. They're worried that they might not get the education that they need. And you know what? They're right.
Two hundred million adolescents are out of school worldwide, about the population of Brazil. And those that are in school feel that they may not be getting the right skills. Globally, six in 10 children and young people do not meet the minimum proficiency level for reading and mathematics. No country can be successful if nearly half of its population of young people are unable to read or write. And what about the lucky few who are in secondary school? Many of them are dropping out because they're worried that they're not getting skills that they can use to make a livelihood. And sometimes, their parents can no longer afford the fees. It's a tragedy.
And young people are also telling me that they're worried about employment, that they won't be able to find a job. And again, they're right. Every month, 10 million young people reach working age. It's a staggering number. Some will go on for further education, but many will enter the workforce. And our world is not creating 10 million new jobs each month. The competition is fierce for the jobs that are available. So, imagine being a young person today, needing a job, seeking a livelihood, ready to build a future, and opportunities are hard to find.
Young people are also telling me that they're worried that they're not getting the skills that they need. And again, they're right. We are finding ourselves at a time in the world when the world is changing so fast for work. We're in the fourth industrial revolution. Young people do not want to be on the farms and in rural communities. They want to go to the cities. They want to learn future skills for future work. They want to learn digital technology and green technologies. They want to have a chance to learn modern agriculture. They want to learn business and entrepreneurship, so that they can create a business of their own. They want to be nurses and radiologists and pharmacists and doctors. And they want to have all of the skills that they'll need for the future. They also want to learn the trades, like construction and electricians. These are all the professions that a country needs, as well as the professions that have not been invented yet.
And young people are also telling me that they're worried about violence. At home, online, in school, in their communities. And again, they're right. A young person can have hundreds of friends on social media, but when they need to find a friendly face, someone who can be there as their friend, to talk to, they do not find one. They face bullying, harassment and more. And hundreds of millions are facing exploitation and abuse, and violence. Every seven minutes, an adolescent boy or girl somewhere in the world is killed by an act of violence.
And girls are telling me that they're especially worried about their futures. And sadly, they're right, too. Girls face prejudice and discrimination. They face early childhood marriage and they face life-threatening early pregnancy. Imagine a population of the United States. Now double it. That's the number of women who were married before their 18th birthday. Six hundred and fifty million. And many were mothers while they were still children themselves. One out of every three women will face physical abuse or sexual abuse in her lifetime. So, no wonder girls are worried about their futures.
These urgent crises may not be a reality in your life or in your neighborhood. And perhaps you've had opportunities for a good education and for marketable skills, and for getting a job. And maybe you've never faced violence, or prejudice, or discrimination. But there are tens of millions of young people who are not so lucky. And they are sounding the alarm for their futures.
And that is why UNICEF and our many public and private partners are launching a new global initiative. Young people themselves have named it. And it's called Generation Unlimited or Gen-U or Gen you. So, what they're saying is, it's our time, it's our turn, it's our future.
Our goal is very straightforward. We want every young person in school, learning, training, or age-appropriate employment by the year 2030. This goal is urgent, it's necessary, it's ambitious. But we think it's also achievable. So we're calling out for cutting-edge solutions and new ideas. Ideas that will give young people a fighting chance for their futures. We don't know all the answers, so we're reaching out to businesses and governments, and nonprofits, and academia, and communities, and innovators for help.
Gen-U is to be an open platform, where people can come and share their ideas and solutions about what works, what does not work, and importantly, what might work. So if we can take these ideas and add a little bit of seed money, and add some good partners, and add good political will, we think they can scale up to reach thousands and millions of people around the world. And with this project, we're also going to do something new. We're going to co-design and co-create with young people. So with Gen-U, they're going to be in the driver's seat, steering us all along the way.
In Argentina, there's a program where we connect students who are in rural, remote, hard to reach mountainous communities, with something they've seldom seen: a secondary school teacher. So these students come to a classroom, they're joined by a community teacher and they're connected to urban schools online. And there is the secondary school teacher, who is teaching them about digital technology and a good secondary school education, without them ever having to leave their own communities.
And in South Africa, there's a program called Techno Girls. And these are girls from disadvantaged neighborhoods who are studying the STEM program area: science, technology, engineering and math. And they have a chance to job shadow. This is the way that they then can see themselves in jobs that are in engineering, in science, and maybe in the space program.
In Bangladesh, we have partners who are training tens of thousands of young people in the trades, so that they can become motorcycle repair people, or mobile phone service people. But these are a chance to see their own livelihoods. And maybe even to have a business of their own.
And in Vietnam, there's a program where we are pairing young entrepreneurs with the needs in their own local communities. So with this program, a group gathered and they decided that they would solve the problem of transportation for people with disabilities in their communities. So with a mentor and a bit of seed funding, they've now developed a new app to help the whole community.
And I've seen how these programs can make a difference. When I was in Lebanon, I visited a program called Girls Got IT, or Girls Got It. And in this program, girls who have been studying computer skills and the STEM program have a chance to work side by side with young professionals, so that they can learn firsthand what it's like to be an architect, a designer or a scientist. And when you see these girls, smiles on their faces, the hot lights in their eyes, they are so excited, they have hope for the future. They want to change the world. And now, with this program and these mentors, they'll be able to do it.
But these ideas and programs are just a start. They'll only reach a fraction of the young people that we need to reach. We want to take these ideas and find ways to scale them up. To reach more young people in more communities, in more places around the world. And we want to dream big. Could every school, everywhere in the world, no matter how remote or mountainous, or even if it's in a refugee camp, could they be connected to the internet? Could we have instant translation for young people, so that you could get a good education in your own language, anywhere in the world? And would it be possible that we could connect the education in your school with skills that you're going to need to get a job in your own community? So that you actually can move from school to work. And more.
Can each one of us help? In our everyday lives and in our workplaces, are there ways that we could support young people? Young people are asking us for apprenticeships, for job shadowing, for internships. Could we do this? Young people are also asking us for work-study programs, places where they can learn and earn. Could we do this and could we reach out to a community that's nearby, that's less advantaged, and help them? Young people are also saying that they want to help other young people. They want more space and more voice, so that they can gather to help each other. In HIV centers, in refugee camps, but also to stop online bullying and early child marriage.
We need ideas, we need ideas that are big and small, ideas that are local and global. This, in the end, is our responsibility. A massive generation of young people are about to inherit our world. It is our duty to leave a legacy of hope and opportunity for them but also with them. Young people are 25 percent of our population. But they are 100 percent of our future. And they're calling out for a fighting chance to build a better world. So their call should be our calling. The calling of our time. The time is now, the need is urgent. And 1.8 billion young people are waiting.