Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Equal schooling for both boys and girls is the foundation for development.
No other policy intervention is likely to have a more positive multiplier effect on progress across all the MDGs than the education of women and girls. Evidence shows a strong correlation between educating women and girls and an increase in women’s earnings, improved child and family health and nutrition, an increase in school enrolment, protection against HIV infection, higher maternal and child life expectancy, reduced fertility rates and delayed marriage.
Several million more girls are now in school compared with 2000 and girls’ access to education has markedly improved in some countries, such as Bangladesh, Benin and Nepal. India is approaching gender parity in terms of enrolment.
Nevertheless, there are still more boys than girls attending school in many countries. Some 54 per cent of the world’s out-of-school children are girls. Twenty-eight countries have less than 90 girls in school per 100 boys. In many countries, girls are faced with barriers to education ranging from negative attitudes to the burden of household work and distance to school. Special efforts – from recruiting female teachers to supporting poor families to making schools more girl-friendly – are needed to redress the balance.
Of the 759 million adults who cannot read or write, around two-thirds are women. This proportion has remained unchanged since 2000.