An eAtlas to Better Understand Gender inequality in Out-Of-School Children
By admin May 10, 2017

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Photo by: Zi Jian Lim

Out-of-School gender rate disparities vary greatly from one region to another even though they are almost alike at the global level. Gender disparities are the highest in Arab States, sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. Because of the many conflict-hit areas in Arab states, it is difficult to precisely quantify gender disparities in out-of-school children but in sub-Saharan Africa, the female out-of-school rate is 36 percent compared to 32 percent for males. But gender gaps in access to primary education are the highest in South and West Asia, where four million out-of-schoolgirls will never enter formal education compared to one million of out-of-school boys.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) estimates that, if the current trend continues, 15 million girls, between the ages of six and 10 “will never set foot in a classroom compared to 10 million boys,” and of those 134 million children who did begin primary school in 2014, 38 million will leave school without finishing the last grade.

Over time, progress has been made, notably in Southern Asia, where girls starting school today can expect to receive 11 years of education compared to six in the early nineties. With the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), governments have pledged to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030 and to eliminate disparities so that every child and adolescent completes quality education and learning. But “poverty, isolation and inequality are barriers that compromise the achievement” of that goal of reaching universal primary education.

This global push of universal education has produced positive effects, as there has been a drastic decline of out-of-school children in the past 15 years. With the annual publication of the eAtlas on Gender Inequalities, highlighting the number of girls and boys that remain excluded from the school system in 200 countries and territories, UIS aims at providing necessary data for education advocates and policymakers to help ensure that girls and women benefit fully from the SDGs on Education. It is very important that the eAtlas is published annually because data regarding out-of-school children vary greatly from one year to another because of population fluctuation.

In light of what the data provided by this eAtlas shows, universal primary and secondary education, as pledged by the adoption of SDG4 will require innovative policies and programs in order for this goal to be attained by 2030. Two solutions in particular have proven their success. The first is “second chance” education solution, targeting adolescents and providing them specific training to allow them to contribute to economic growth. The second is promoting female teachers in areas where gender inequality in access to education is high. Studies have shown that female teachers have positive effects on having girls stay in school. As a counter example, in Liberia, over 50 percent of girls are out of school while only 13 percent of teachers are women.

Gender gaps in education are not only an issue in under developed countries even though the impact of socio-economic determinants is evident. Even in developed countries, girls’ lack of self-confidence, notably in their mathematical abilities, has proven to have negative effects on their education paths. Indeed, while studies show that more girls than boys obtained undergraduate degrees, the gender gap in the number of researchers is still largely to the disfavor of girls.


Read More:

UN Press Center: Twice As Many Girls As Boys Will Never Start School

UNESCO Institute for Statistics: Closing the Gender Gap

UNESCO Institute for Statistics: eAtlas 2017 presentation

The New York Times: Gender Gaps in Education

UNICEF: Girls’ Education and Gender Equality

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