Great Progress Educating Girls Around the World

Over the last 25 years, the proportion of girls being educated around the world has risen to 89 percent - an increase of 16 percent since 1995.

A recently published UNESCO report shows that 180 million more girls have enrolled in primary and secondary education compared to a generation ago. Furthermore, three times more women are now enrolled in universities.

The Global Education Monitoring Report entitled, A New Generation: 25 years of efforts for gender equality in education evaluated the progress in girls’ education over the last two and a half decades since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a landmark commitment by 189 countries to advance the rights of girls and women.

“We all know that education is the cornerstone of equality - and the education of girls and women is the first step towards a more gender-equal world,” said the UN group in a press release. Since 1995, the global enrollment rate for girls increased from 73 percent to 89 percent, with the biggest improvements seen in sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, and especially in India.

Three times more women are also now enrolled in universities than two decades ago, with particular progress seen in Northern Africa and Western Asia. In Morocco, parity was achieved in 2018, compared to just 3 women enrolled for every 10 men in the early 1990s.

Manos Antoninis, Director of UNESCO’s report stated: “Twenty-five years since the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, girls still face barriers that keep them away from school and realising their potential. Education is the springboard for achieving the six Action Coalitions at the Generation Equality Forum planned for 2021, where the next iteration of the Beijing Declaration will be produced. It makes the timing of this Report particularly critical.”

The report has launched a campaign called #Iamthe1stGirl. This campaign aims to show the world what happens when governments invest in girls’ education. It aims to share the positive contribution to society by millions of women who are the first in their family to finish secondary school or university.