The World Inequality Database in Education, WIDE, managed by the GEM Report and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, highlights the powerful influence of gender, combined with other factors such as ethnicity and location, over which people have little control but which play an important role in shaping their opportunities for education and life.
WIDE data shows that, in 9 countries around the world, the poorest girls spend less than 2 years in school on average. And in 10 countries, none of the poorest young women have completed upper secondary school, all but 2 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa: Belize, Burundi, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Nepal, Senegal, the U.R Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Looking at UIS data on out-of-school numbers, in primary school, more than two-thirds of girls in the poorest 20% of households are not enrolled in 2 countries. In lower secondary school, more than two-thirds of girls in the poorest households are not enrolled in 6 countries, with Benin, Guinea, Nigeria and Mali featuring on both lists. In upper secondary education, in the bottom 10 countries, no more than 2 out of 10 girls from the poorest households can expect to attend among those aged 15-17 years.
Girls’ disengagement from education is due to so many factors, including child-marriage, early pregnancy, discriminatory gender norms in society, child labour and the lack of easy and safe access to schools near where they live. These girls need to be given a second-chance to re-join education systems, and accelerated learning opportunities so that they can catch-up on their time lost.
Look out for the GEM 2020 Gender Report due out this September which will examine these trends in more detail.
Mean years of education of poorest females, ages 20-24
Out of school
Source: UIS database released on Feb 26, 2020
Read the factsheet prepared by the GEM Report in partnership with UNESCO for International Women’s Day and to assess progress achieved in girls’ education over the past 25 years.
Take part in our new social media campaign launched in partnership with multiple education organizations to help advance the commitments made on education in the Beijing Declaration from now until International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October. The campaign calls on girls and teachers to add their voices to call for change by saying what they would want to improve for the next generation of girls in 25 years’ time.