The State of the World’s Children 2004 focuses on girls’ education as one of the most crucial issues facing the development community today. Girls are the focus because they are the ones who are usually left behind, because what benefits them will also benefit boys (and the reverse is not always true), because they are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation when left uneducated.
The report is a testimony to the prevailing gender disparities and to the toll girls’ exclusion from school takes on them, their families, communities and countries. It is also a trove of information on strategies, programmes and initiatives developed by UNICEF and its partners to advance the cause of girls’ educationand thus improve the lives of all children. Finally, the report is a call to action.