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Girls’ Education

  • In 2011, only 60 per cent of countries had achieved gender parity in primary education and 38 per cent in secondary education.
  • Out of approximately 31 million girls of primary school age out of school, roughly 17 million are expected to never enroll in school. 
  • In the Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa, almost two in three out-of-school girls are expected never to go to school.
  • Of the world’s 650 million primary school-age children, at least 250 million are not learning the basics in reading and mathematics, many of whom are girls.
  • Despite recent advances in girls’ education, generations of women have been left behind: 493 million adult women are illiterate and account for almost two-thirds of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults. 
  • Thousands of girls are kept from school due to poverty; institutional and cultural barriers; pressure for early marriage; lack of safety in getting to school; lack of separate latrines for boys and girls; sexual harassment and gender-based violence in schools; and domestic work overload. 
  • In 44 of the 74 countries analysed in 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, there is at least a 50 year gap between the richest boys and poorest girls in completing lower secondary school. In low income countries, the average gap is 63 years.
  • Even in the wealthier Punjab Province in Pakistan, only around half of poor girls in grade 5 could do simple subtraction, compared with more than 80 per cent of rich boys.
  • Educating girls is one of the most effective strategies to combat child marriage, especially as they progress to secondary school. When a girl remains in secondary school, she is six times less likely to marry young. 
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive past age five. 
  • If all women in low and lower middle income countries completed secondary education, three million lives of children under five would be saved every year. 
  • If all women in sub-Saharan Africa completed their primary education, maternal mortality would fall by 70 per cent.
  • If all girls had secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, child marriage would fall by 64 per cent.

Updated: March 2014






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