Twice as many girls as boys will never start school says UNESCO

Students at Marcela Paz school. La Florida, Chile (Photo: UNESCO/Carolina Jerez)
Students at Marcela Paz school. La Florida, Chile (Photo: UNESCO/Carolina Jerez)

Almost 16 million girls between the ages six and 11 will never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school compared to about 8 million boys if current trends continue, according to a new report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

In the run-up to International Women’s Day on 8 March, the UNESCO eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education shows that girls are still the first to be denied the right to education despite all the efforts and progress made over the past 20 years.

“We will never achieve any of the Sustainable Development Goals without overcoming the discrimination and poverty that stunt the lives of girls and women from one generation to the next,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “We must work at all levels, from grassroots to global leaders, to put equity and inclusion at the heart of every policy so that all girls, whatever their circumstances, go to school, stay in school and become empowered citizens.”

The eAtlas of Gender Inequalities in Education shows gender gaps from primary to tertiary education using the latest available data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. With about 100 interactive maps and charts, the eAtlas shows the educational pathways of girls and boys in more than 200 countries and territories.

“We clearly see where the injustices begin and how they accumulate through the lives of the most marginalized girls and women,” said Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. “But the data also show that girls who do manage to start primary school and make the transition to secondary education tend to outperform boys and continue their studies.”

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  1. anonymous2
    March 4, 2016

    And UNESCO ought to know because they contribute to the status quo of cultures worldwide . UNESCO is an elitist club.

  2. March 3, 2016

    These stats are indeed thought provoking.

    However, Dominica News Online has over the months given us the success stories of young ladies who have gone to college or university. A significant number of these have returned home with degrees including doctorates.

    It should be noted that the girls who get past their secondary education usually continue their education and out perform the boys.

    I expect the problem perpetuates itself. Once the cause is understood this is something that can and will be corrected.

    Poverty plays a role. When a family lacks money for the children’s education it is often the son or sons who are able to go beyond secondary school.

    There are many cases where the mother did not have the privilege of getting a higher education. The home has become her world. The daughter or daughters identify with the mother who has a tendency to keep the girls at home to help her.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill, Evangelist.

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