Progress for Children Homepage
PROGRESS FOR CHILDREN: A WORLD FIT FOR CHILDREN STATISTICAL REVIEW View Previous Editions>

THE GENDER GAP IN EDUCATION IS DIMINISHING WITH INCREASED ENROLMENT

Primary and secondary net enrolment ratios (NER) of boys and girls (1990 and 2005)

MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Gender parity in primary and secondary education

MDG target: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015

Girls’ education has been expanding all over the world, but not fast enough to ensure a basic education for the millions of girls still out of school. About two thirds of countries and territories reached gender parity in primary education by the target year of 2005, but in many other countries – especially in sub-Saharan Africa – girls are still disadvantaged.

There are important regional differences. The largest gender gaps at the primary level are in West/Central Africa, Middle East/North Africa and South Asia. Gender disparities are greatest in rural areas and among poor households.

About one third of countries achieved gender parity in secondary education by 2005. But in terms of equality and empowerment, gender parity is just a starting point. The MDG envisages education as a fulfilling experience for all girls and boys and as helping them reach their full potential in society.

GENDER GAPS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL HAVE CLOSED IN EAST ASIA/PACIFIC, LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN AND EASTERN/SOUTHERN AFRICA

Primary school net enrolment/attendance ratio of boys and girls, by region (2000–2006)

 

GENDER GAPS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL HAVE CLOSED IN EAST ASIA/PACIFIC, LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN AND EASTERN/SOUTHERN AFRICA

Primary school net attendance ratio of boys and girls, by background characteristics (2000–2006)

 

MANY COUNTRIES HAVE REACHED GENDER PARITY IN PRIMARY EDUCATION…

Gender parity index (GPI) in primary education (2000–2006)

 

... YET, FEWER COUNTRIES ARE NEAR PARITY IN SECONDARY EDUCATION

Gender parity index (GPI) in secondary education (2000–2006)

 

AMONG SECONDARY-SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN...

Gender gaps in secondary school are small
Secondary school net enrolment/attendance ratio of boys and girls, by region (2000–2006)

 

... Boys are more likely to be in primary school than girls
Primary school net enrolment/attendance ratio of boys and girls of secondary school age, by region (2000–2006)

 

... Girls are more likely to be out of school than boys
Percentage of boys and girls of secondary school age who are out of school, by region (2000–2006)

 

Note: The gender parity index (GPI) is obtained by dividing the net enrolment/attendance ratio for girls by the net enrolment/attendance ratio for boys.

Source for figures on this page: UNICEF global databases, 2007, and UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest 2007. Disparity analysis is based on household survey data (DHS and MICS) collected in developing countries during 2000–2006.