Gender parity in education is so central to achievement of the MDGs that it was the only area in which an earlier target date of 2005 was set.
Eliminating gender disparity is clearly a stepping stone towards the broader goal of education for all. It is also a platform for gender equality and women's empowerment, which in turn are necessary for other MDGs such as reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and reducing poverty.
UNICEF projections based on attendance data for 81 developing countries show a global gender parity index (GPI) (4) in 2005 of 0.96 – meaning that there are 96 girls for every 100 boys in primary school. This technically puts the world on track to meet the goal of gender parity in primary education. But in practice, there is a long road still to travel.