Equity and sustainable development in Europe and Central Asia are threatened by an increase in attitudes shaped by gender-bias. The consequences can be particularly acute for children from groups who are already disadvantaged.
Gender discrimination can start early in life.
When gender discrimination is felt during early childhood, the impact may be profound. A preference for sons in parts of the region is creating the phenomenon of ‘missing girls’ as a result of gender-biased sex selection during pregnancy. Azerbaijan, for example, has rates of sex selection second only to China, and the problem is found elsewhere in the Caucasus and in some Balkan countries.
Gender differences are also seen in education. While enrolment rates are similar for girls and boys until lower-secondary school, gaps emerge at upper-secondary level. And while boys are more likely to be out of school in some countries, the enrolment gaps are largest where more girls are out of school.
Given the region's level of economic development, adolescent girls are not doing as well as they should. Where gender discrimination is entrenched, and where opportunities for female employment are limited, adolescent girls are more likely to drop out of school.