Publish at May 28 2018 Updated September 14 2022

Where are we with gender equality in education? - Unesco report

A rather mixed record of progress in girls' schooling in some regions of the world

Cultural, structural, or even physiological, the obstacles to girls' schooling in some regions of the world are still many and varied; This is a reflection of the international treaties through which these countries have committed themselves to upholding the rights of women and girls to education.

While there have been general advances in girls' schooling in recent years, there is also a need to address the issue of gender inequality;Where are we, in a concrete way, with gender equality in education in 2018?

Taking action beyond statistics

Initiatives and speeches extolling the virtues of girls’mancipation in and through education are endless. While Goal N°5 of the 2030 Agenda, adopted by UN member states in September 2015, recommends &achieving gender equality by empowering women and girls by 2030, we are still a long way off. 

The Gender Equality Report 2018, worked on by UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report team, paints a rather mixed picture. «

Only 66% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, 45% in lower secondary and 25% in upper secondary.


Creating a more inclusive, just and equitable world, which is the very essence of sustainable development, means ensuring that every man and woman, every boy and girl, has the means to live in dignity. 

For example, it is not enough to focus on parity solely in terms of enrollment rates, as gender inequality takes many other forms. This inequality can be seen in the under-representation of women in positions of responsibility in certain sectors of activity, in the inadequacy of school infrastructures and in the lack of access to education;inadequacy of school infrastructure à certain specific needs to girls/women  or in the distorted representation of gender in school textbooks, among others, as the report points out.

It is therefore essential to adopt laws and policies that remove the barriers that restrict women and girls' access to education, from primary school to university, and address the discrimination they sometimes face in school and university settings. However, does not the relevance of a law depend in part on its application and scrupulous respect?


Ensuring an end to impunity: a shared responsibility

Beyond simply passing legislation, accountability is a critical aspect of exemplary monitoring of political and social developments in gender equality in the education sector.

According to Manos Antoninis, Director of the Report, the document

« examines [thus] who is responsible for gender equality in education and how actors can be held accountable if they fail to honor these responsibilities.

A shared responsibility insofar as it relates to the extent to which they can be held accountable.

« it is incumbent upon each of us, as community members or professionals in the field, to monitor the actions of governments, schools, and teachers to ensure that discriminatory practices and attitudes are not tolerated

as the report points out.

Efforts that require more than just financial support, sufficient capacity and support structures because,

« teacher behavior, parental choices, or decision-making processes all affect the likelihood that a girl will be enrolled through graduation in an equitable learning environment. This is why we must also combat discrimination and unbalanced power relations that are deeply and longstandingly rooted in other spheres of life.

Recommendations à to watch out for beforehand, as the development of some regions would depend on it. After all, isn't it said that to sacrifice a girl is to sacrifice a nation?  

Illustration: A young girl écrivant at the blackboard - Foter

More Details

Global Monitoring Report on Education 2018 - Gender Equality R&E: Delivering on our commitments to gender equality in education. UNESCO, 2018.

Antoninis, M. in Who is responsible for ensuring gender equality in education? Global Partnership for Education. 9 March 2018.

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