Campaigns

Education, a catalyst for changing gender inequalities

Gender-based discrimination remains one of the most persistent obstacles in the way of the right to education. If it is not overcome, Education for All cannot be achieved. Girls make up the majority of children and young people who do not attend school, although boys are disadvantaged in a growing number of countries.” Dakar Framework for Action, Education for all: meeting our common commitments, approved by the World Education Forum, Dakar (Senegal), April 2000.

  • What can be done to eliminate the gender barriers that prevent access to education and what can be done to create a more just world from a gender perspective?
  • What kind of education helps us reach the horizon of a more egalitarian and more just world?
  • How can we raise awareness about the fact that 264 million children and youth do not have access to education?

Gender equality and inequality affects everyone’s daily life, their relationships, choices and decisions. Gender equality is part of social justice and human rights. It serves as an impetus for the promotion of progress, and is vital for the consolidation of peaceful, inclusive, resilient and just societies.

Education can lead to gender inequalities and reinforce stereotypes in both behaviours and approaches, or it can be a catalyst for change that provides individuals with the possibility and capacity to question and change discriminatory attitudes and practices. For the new international agenda of sustainable development, education and gender equality are basic concerns.

Although in recent decades access to education has improved a lot globally for both boys and girls, there is still a gender disparity in access to primary education, almost always to the detriment of girls. And there is a series of obstacles that prevent or limit the participation of women in education.

Some of the most relevant are poverty, child labour (especially work at home), early marriages, early pregnancies, armed conflicts, difficult access to schools, dangerous and violent environments, and, mainly, the discriminatory social practices that take place within the school from the earliest age. (Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education)

Some facts:

– One in 10 girls was out of school in 2014, compared to one in 12 boys.

– Of the 61 million young people of primary school age who were not enrolled in school in 2014, 53% were girls.

– Gender differences in secondary education are shrinking but still persist, and are more marked, for girls. In 2012 there were at least 19 countries with less than 90 girls per 100 boys enrolled in this level, of which the majority were Arab and sub-Saharan African countries.

– Girls, especially the poorest girls, continue to face the greatest challenges when it comes to accessing primary school.

– Of the girls out of school in sub-Saharan Africa, 50%, that is, about 9 million, will never set foot in a classroom, compared to 41% of boys out of school (6 million).

– In South Asia, the trends are similar, and the gender gap is even greater. Of girls out of school in the region, 81% are unlikely to go to school, compared to 42% of boys, most of whom are likely to enrol late (UIS and UNESCO, 2016).

– In countries with high percentages of young people outside of school, the poorest girls are still the most likely to have no studies in their lives. The percentage of the poorest women who have never attended school grew from 46% in 1999 to 76% in 2013.

– Children are more likely to drop out of school in the second cycle of secondary education. Only 95 girls per 100 boys complete this stage, a proportion that has hardly changed since the year 2,000.

– Gender inequalities increase the further along the education system the children are. In pre-school education, 70% of countries have achieved parity, compared to the 66% that have achieved it in primary education, 50% in the first cycle of secondary education, 29% in the second cycle of secondary education and only 4% in tertiary education.

Are you ready to act?

One way to raise awareness is to participate in the Global Red Chair Project with your students. We invite you to grab a red chair this wonderful project along with Educate Magis, Entreculturas, Friends of Fe y Alegría, and several other partners across the global network, And, if you have already implemented the project in your school, then extend the Global Red Chair Project experience by raising awareness of some of the reasons why there are so many children out of school, such as: povertylack of infrastructure, climate change, war and gender inequality.

It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every single person, every boy, every girl and every young person exercises their right to a quality and inclusive education, regardless of their age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. We each have a fundamental and inalienable right to a quality and inclusive education, no matter where we were born or the resources we have.

Thank you for joining us. We look forward to working together today to create the world we want tomorrow!

[This post was written by Ana Vázquez Ponzone of Fundación Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría España for Educate Magis. To see the original post, please click here.]