International Day of the Girl: 4 Facts About Gender Disparity in Education

October 12, 2016: Today is the International Day of the Girl Child, an annual day of recognition adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. The UN states that the purpose of this day, celebrated every year on October 11, is to: Focus attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

At Share & Care, we work to empower girls in a number of ways all year long, with particular emphasis on providing educational opportunities. Recently, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative released its 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for All, which offers a comprehensive look atinclusivity and equality issues in education across the world. Below are a few key quotes and takeaways from the report.

Fact #1: Girls make up the majority of the global population of children out of school.

Girls account for 53% — or approximately 32,330,000 — of the 61 million primary-age children around the world not enrolled in school.

Analysis shows that, globally, 47% of the 32 million girls who were out of school in 2014 are expected to never go to school, compared with 35% of the 29 million boys.

In this context, girls face the largest gender gaps in Northern Africa, Southern and Western Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Fact #2: Poverty further deepens gender disparity in education completion.

In many countries, living in rural or disadvantaged areas often puts children and adolescents at greater risk of not completing school. Over 2009-2014 in low income countries, 19% of rural children completed lower secondary education, compared with 48% of urban children. … In 2011 in India, upper secondary completion rates of rich urban girls and boys averaged 70%; for poor rural males, the average was 26% and the rate was much lower for poor rural females.

Fact #3: Women account for approximately two-thirds of the global population of illiterate adults.

Literacy opens doors to better livelihoods, improved health and expanded opportunity. By contrast, illiteracy can entrap households in poverty and diminished opportunity.

Fortunately, youth illiteracy rates are lower overall than among adults, and gender disparity among youth is less as well. However, the world’s poorest girls and young women remain the most likely to be illiterate.

Fact #4: Women do more unpaid work than men, and are less likely overall to have formal employment.

Women tend to be over-represented in vulnerable employment, working on their own or with one or more partners, or as unpaid family workers. Eliminating women’s socio-economic disadvantage is necessary for achieving substantive gender equality.

Because of these facts and more, we at Share & Care are passionate about supporting underprivileged rural children by providing them with the resources needed to complete their education. Our Educate 2 Success program has already helped hundreds of children, and aims to change the futures of thousands more — but we need your help. Visit our E2S Signature Program page to learn more about how you can contribute.

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