The gender gap in education

Source: Oxfam
Throughout the guide suggestions of activities to help groups generate discussion and explore the issues addressed in more depth are given the guide is accompanied by a set of worksheets that correspond to these activities. April 2008. [see more]
In 1990 in Jomtien, Thailand, at the World Conference on Education for All, world leaders agreed that “the most urgent priority [was] to ensure access to, and improve the quality of, education for girls and women, and to remove every obstacle that hampers their active participation”. A deadline was set: universal access to, and completion of, primary education should be achieved by the year 2000.

By the year 2000, this “urgent priority” had not been realized. In the World Education Forum, held that year in Dakar, new deadlines were fixed: all children should complete “compulsory primary education of good quality” by 2015, and participants once again expressed specific concern about gender disparities in education, pledging to eliminate them by 2005. At the UN’s Millennium Summit, heads of state adopted these targets as two of the eight Millennium Development Goals for reducing world poverty.

The Global Campaign for Education, an international coalition of NGOs and trade unions, states that “because education is so crucial to improving health and increasing incomes, the girls’ education goal has a domino effect on all of the other Millennium Development Goals. Failure to achieve it will set us up for almost certain failure on the other MDGs”.

Some experts claim that there is “no chance whatsoever” of reaching the 2005 target.
Some civil society organizations, however, are working hard to prove otherwise. The Global Campaign for Education claims that if donors and governments fulfil their commitment this objective can be achieved. “The problem is not over-ambition, but lack of ambition,” they say. And they are carrying out an international campaign to raise awareness and pressure governments.

Poverty is one of the major factors that undermines girls’ right to education. School fees and expenses relating to transport, clothing and books widen the gender gap: as families cannot afford to educate all their children, girls are the ones that stay at home, helping with household chores. Other barriers have to do with the sexual harassment to which girls and women are exposed, both on the way to and inside schools, early marriage and adolescent pregnancy.

What is the most effective tool for combating these problems? Education. According the Global Campaign for Education, in order to stop this poverty wheel, a comprehensive package of interventions backed by clear policy aims is needed.
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UPDATES
Wednesday, April 23 2008
Working with the media on gender and education
(Source: Oxfam)
Wednesday, March 12 2008
Safe schools: every girl's right
Monday, December 18 2006
Women's education, citizenship and rights
(Source: REPEM)

An overview

Empty desks, empty futures: the curse of classroom gender gaps (ID21)

When girls go missing from the classroom (UNESCO Courier)

Women's education, citizenship and rights (REPEM)

The need to acknowledge discrimination (Social Watch Report 2006)

Millennium Development Goals

Levels of achievement (in graphics) (UN)

Gender equality and the education goal (World Bank)

Goals and targets (UN)

60 million girls missing an education (Save the Children)

Priority areas for attention in achieving the MDGs in education for girls (The Millennium Project)

Schools must be ‘gender responsive’ (ActionAid)

Millennium Development Goal Two: Education For All (ID21)

UNICEF says getting more girls into school is first step to reaching MDGs (UNICEF)

Information resources

Classification of countries according to enrolment, gender parity index and region (UNESCO)

Examples of barriers to girls’ education and possible responses (UNICEF)

Practices that perpetuate discrimination against girls (Education International)

Reports and resources from the Global Campaign for Education (GCE)

Working with the media on gender and education (Oxfam)

Women and education (India Together)

Gender, education and violence

Conspiracy of silence? Stamping out abuse in African schools (ID21)

Beyond victims and villains: addressing sexual violence in the education sector (Panos)

South Africa: sexual violence in schools (ERP)

Tested to their limit: sexual harassment in schools and educational institutions in Kenya

Criminal justice? Tackling sexual abuse in schools

Safe schools: every girl's right

Selected country and regional challenges and experiences

Bridging the gap between intention and action: girls' and women's education in South Asia (Unesco)

Education in the Arab States: fve million girls still denied access to school (UNESCO)

A lifeline for the future of girls' education in Southern Sudan (BRAC)

African girls' voices (FAWE)

Africa: the gender gap in girls’ education: curbing dropout

Girls' education: men make a difference (FAWE)

Workshop on basic education and lifelong learning for gender equality through Community Learners Centres (UNESCO)

Illiteracy, gender, and race in Brazil (Inter-American Council for Integral Development)

Girls' education: a key intervention against HIV/AIDS and its effects

Girl's education in sub-Saharan Africa (IPS)

Zimbabwe: Hands up for girl’s education (Kubatana)

Civil society

The Global Campaign for Education

Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)

Brac

International Council of Adult Education (ICAE)

Education Rights Project

Education International

The UN: conferences, related documents and reports

EFA global monitoring report, 2002: is the world on track? (UNESCO)

World Conference on Education for All: World Declaration on Education for All, 1990 (UNESCO)

World Conference on Education For All: Framework for Action (UNESCO)

The World Education Forum (2000) (UNESCO)

The Dakar Framework for Action (UNESCO)

From Dakar to Jomtien (Global Campaign for Education)

Monitoring Report on Education for All, 2001 (UNESCO)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (UN)

Fact Sheet on the Convention (UNHCHR)

The 2003/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report: A frank assessment

Gender and Education For All: the leap to equality (UNESCO)

Key reports

Partnerships for girls’ education (Oxfam)

A fair chance: attaining gender equality in basic education by 2005 (Global Campaign for Education)

Education for a safe motherhood

Summary of the above (GCE)

Gender, education and poverty

Girls' education and poverty eradication (FAWE)

The struggle to survive (FAWE)

What poverty does to girls' education: the intersection of class, gender, and ethnicity in Latin America

Investment in girls' education key against poverty (Afrol)

Education and poverty (OXFAM)

Africa: urged to invest in education of girls to reduce poverty (Third World Network)

The power and promise of girl's education (Save the Children)

Gender, education and AIDS

AIDS and girls' education

Campaigns

Girls' education: the biggest lesson in history (CFE)

Education for all week (UNESCO)

Action week stories (NetAid)

Go girls! (UNICEF)

Education now (Oxfam)

Related in-depth reports

Millennium Development Goals


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