Today, International Day of the Girl Child, we can celebrate the progress made: 50 million more girls were enrolling in school in 2022 than in 2015: 22.5 million more girls in primary, 14.6 million more in lower secondary and 13 million more in upper secondary education.
While this is a positive story of progress, there remain 122 million girls out of school, as well as 128 million boys. Progress now needs to focus on girls in sub-Saharan Africa, who are still far less likely to go to school at any education level.
Afghanistan is also a zone of exclusion for girls since the Taliban have been in place. UNICEF found that 60% of girls of primary school age are not in school (compared to 46% of boys) and 74% of girls lower secondary school age are not in school either (compared to 50% of boys).Girls in school today have a higher chance to complete each cycle. Completion rates of girls increased from 86% in 2015 to 89% in 2022 in primary education, from 74% to 79% in lower secondary education and from 54% to 61% in upper secondary education. That means that five million more girls completed each of these three levels of education in 2022 than in 2015.
Girls are now also outperforming boys in reading across all education levels and country income groups and are increasingly performing at the same level as boys in mathematics.
The proportion of teachers that are female meanwhile increased across primary, lower and upper secondary education, cementing the fact that it is a feminized profession across the board. The proportion of teachers that are female at the pre-primary level dropped by less than one percent yet remains heavily female, at 94%.
There has been little change in the proportion of schools with single sex toilets, however, falling from 80% in 2016 to 79% in 2022 in primary, but remaining constant at 91% in lower secondary.
SDG4 mid-term progress review: progress since 2015 has been far too slow
SCOPE website with interactive graphs explaining the trends behind the data on education gaps between girls and boys
VIEW website with country-specific data on out-of-school and completion rates by gender
WIDE website with graphics showing gender gaps in education opportunities, including primary completion rates, secondary completion rates and learning proficiency, and youth literacy