PHOTO BLOG: The state of girls’ education around the world

To tie-in with the release of the Gender Summary of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013/4 published by UNESCO to mark International Women’s Day, this photo blog tells the story of the state of education for girls and young women around the world. 

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The Gender Summary of the 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report highlights the serious gender imbalance in global education that has left over 100 million young women unable to read a single sentence. The summary, launched for International Women’s Day in partnership with the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, calls for equity to be at the heart of new global development goals after 2015 so that every child has an equal chance of learning through quality education.

Half of the 31 million girls out of school are expected never to enroll or have the chance to learn. Despite some progress, in 2011, only 60% of countries had achieved parity in primary education and only 38% of countries had achieved parity in secondary education. Among low income countries, just 20% had achieved gender parity at the primary level, 10% at the lower secondary level and 8% at the upper secondary level.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the largest number of countries with severe gender disparity in access to primary education, with girls making up 54% of the out-of-school population across the continent. In the Arab States the situation remains unchanged since 1999, with girls making up 60% of the out-of-school population. Despite some progress, girls still make up 57% of the out–of-school population in South and West Asia as well.

On current trends, by 2015 it is projected that only 70% of countries will have achieved parity in primary education, and 56% of countries will have achieved parity in lower secondary education. The new summary reiterates the need for progress in education to be more evenly spread between girls and boys if global education goals are to be achieved.

Read on to find out more about the state of girls’ education around the world.

Sixth and seventh grade pupils in class at a government school in Andhra Pradesh in India.  Photo: Paloma Basi

Sixth and seventh grade pupils in class at a government school in Andhra Pradesh in India. Photo: Paloma Basi

End the learning crisis for girls

In India, even if they are enrolled in school, poor girls have a lower chance of learning the basics than others. For example 21% of poor girls in Madhya Pradesh are able to do basic mathematics compared with 27% of poor boys. Likewise, only 16% of poor girls in Uttar Pradesh are able to do basic mathematics compared with 24% of poor boys. However, India is introducing some innovative reforms which should be replicated nationwide, and have lessons for other countries too. Activity Based Learning in Tamil Nadu is successful in improving learning and is helping to prevent disadvantaged children, including girls, from falling behind.

Faimonissa, 10, shows off her maths slate during an Activity Based Learning class, India.  Photo: Paloma Basi

Faimonissa, 10, shows off her maths slate during an Activity Based Learning class, India. Photo: Paloma Basi

“The impact this way of teaching has on the pupils’ learning is huge,” Faimonissa (pictured) says: “I like the new methodology. Before, the teacher would make us sit in a line, away from the blackboard and teach us. Now, we all sit around in a circle, along with the teacher and learn. We all understand much more easily through this new method. If we don’t understand something, we ask our teacher and they explain it to us.”

In Pakistan, on recent trends, rich boys and girls are expected to complete primary school by 2020, but poor boys will only reach this fundamental target in the late 2050s and poor girls just before the end of the century.

Children learning under a tree with little resources need better quality education, Pakistan. Photo: UNESCO/AMima Sayeed

Children learning under a tree with little resources need better quality education, Pakistan. Photo: UNESCO/AMima Sayeed

At this primary school in Shikarpur in Sindh, Pakistan, girls have no school to go to because their school building collapsed years ago. They now go to classes under a tree. Learning in such conditions is very difficult. 

The Gender Summary of the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4 cites a chronic shortage of female teachers affecting the number of girls who enroll and complete their education. In Pakistan, only half of girls make it through to the last grade.

Sanober is the only teacher in this school for over 100 girls, Pakistan. Photo: UNESCO/Amima Sayeed

Sanober is the only teacher in this school for over 100 girls, Pakistan. Photo: UNESCO/Amima Sayeed

Sanober (pictured) is the only teacher in this Pakistani school and she only has basic training. She is expected to look after over 100 pupils over five different grades. Sanober explains: “There are 110 girls studying in this school – we kept on adding one class per year. It started off as a one teacher, one grade school only. Now we have classes up to grade five. Admissions are continuing but I can’t manage any more students over 110 or 120. There are more girls in the village but I can’t enroll them in the school.”

Poor quality education or lack of access to education has left a legacy of illiteracy among young people that is more widespread than previously believed. In total, the Gender Summary of the 2013/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report shows that there are over 100 million young women who are unable to read a sentence.  On current trends, the Gender Summary projects that it will take until 2072 for all the poorest young women in developing countries to be literate.

Soad does not know how to read or write because she never got the chance to go to school, Egypt. Photo: UNESCO/Karel Prinsloo

Soad does not know how to read or write because she never got the chance to go to school, Egypt. Photo: Karel Prinsloo

Education transforms the lives of girls

Soad (pictured) is a 20-year-old living in Cairo, Egypt. She works as a house cleaner because she never got the chance to go to school and does not know how to read or write.

An education for girls like Sanjitha (pictured below) can help them break out of the cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Sanjitha says, “I’m a first generation learner in my family and my parents are uneducated. My parents are farmers and struggle to put a meal together but they would do anything to send me to school. They want me to study so that I don’t have to cut grass from the age of 10 like them. Education for me is an opportunity. I don’t know if I’ll get a good job or what kind of a work I’ll get but I want the door of opportunities to open up. Most importantly these opportunities will keep me from getting married early and help me gain my parents’ respect for all their hard work [to keep me in school].”

Schoolgirl Sanjitha, 14, with her cousin Ramila, 7, knows the benefits of a good quality education in India. Photo: Paloma Basi

Schoolgirl Sanjitha, 14, with her cousin Ramila, 7, knows the benefits of a good quality education in India. Photo: Paloma Basi

If all girls had secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, child marriage would fall by 64%, from almost 2.9 million to just over one million. Education’s contribution is evident in the links between literacy and child marriage. While just 8% of literate girls are married by age 15 in South and West Asia, almost one in four of those who are not literate are married by this age in South and West Asia.

In middle income countries in Latin America, such as Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Mexico, the proportion of women in paid employment increases sharply as women’s education level rises, according to analysis in the Gender Summary of the 2013/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report. For example, in Brazil, while 50% of women with primary education are employed, the proportion rises to 60% of those with secondary education.

In Brazil, only 63% of urban paid workers with primary education are protected by an employment contract, compared to 80% of those with secondary education. And while women are paid less than men, education helps reduce the gender wage gap. In Argentina, women with primary education earn 54% of the men’s wage; those with secondary education earn 70% of the men’s wage.

Karolayne (right), 15, says she'd have made better choices if she had the chance to go to school, Brazil. Photo: UNESCO/Eduardo Martino

Karolayne (right), 15, says she’d have made better choices if she had the chance to go to school, Brazil. Photo: UNESCO/Eduardo Martino

Karolayne (pictured) says she wish she had gone to school to help improve situation: “Before I got pregnant, I never thought about my future, but now I want to study, get a job, a house and provide the best for my son.” In Brazil, only 63% of urban paid workers with primary education are protected by an employment contract, compared to 80% of those with secondary education.

And while women are paid less than men, education helps reduce the gender wage gap. In Argentina, women with primary education earn 54% of the men’s wage; those with secondary education earn 70% of the men’s wage.

In Kenya and Uganda, being a girl and living in poverty can create a potent challenge. Among the poorest households, only 23% of Kenyan girls both complete primary education and achieve the basics. Educated women are more likely to use public health care services, to have fewer children and not to give birth as teenagers – all factors that reduce maternal mortality. If all women in sub-Saharan Africa completed primary education, the maternal mortality ratio would fall by 70%, from 500 to 150 deaths per 100,000 births.

Education is important to provide children, particularly disadvantaged girls, with the skills they need in order to find well paid and secure work later in life.

Nompumele knows that an education will help her find work and break out of the cycle of poverty, South Africa. Photo: UNESCO/Eva-Lotta Jansson

Nompumele knows that an education will help her find work and break out of the cycle of poverty, South Africa. Photo: UNESCO/Eva-Lotta Jansson

Nompumele (pictured), 12, grade 6 learner at a primary school in the Alexandra township, Johannesburg, South Africa says: “I like school because I earn an education from school. Today, jobs are hard if you don’t have an education, so you better be educated so that you can have a better life. I want to be a doctor, that’s my first thing. I want to help those people that are really sick.”

Girls and women who are educated have greater awareness of their rights, and greater confidence and freedom to make decisions that affect their lives, improve their own and their children’s health and chances of survival and boost their prospects. Niger is not projected to reach universal primary completion for rural boys until 2090, for rural girls, it’s even worse and won’t be achieved until 2120. This leaves a legacy of illiteracy amongst young people, particularly affecting girls. The country has one the worst female literacy rates of any country in the world. Less than a quarter (23%) of its young women can read a sentence.

Batoula, 13, understands the need for her to go to school in Niger. Photo: UNESCO/Djibo Tagaza

Batoula, 13, understands the need for her to go to school in Niger. Photo: UNESCO/Djibo Tagaza

Batoula, (pictured) 13, understands the need for her to go to school in Niger: “School is important for girls because it helps you to know how to read and write. If the parents aren’t educated they don’t want to educate their girls, which is a problem for the family. I think girls should learn all the subjects at school because if she is educated she can become a minister and have the same opportunities as a boy”.

New education goals after 2015 must include an explicit commitment to equity so that every child has an equal chance of an education. Insufficient progress towards education goals reveals a failure to reach the marginalized, particularly girls. In low and lower middle income countries, the poorest rural young women have only spent three years on average in school – with little change since 2000, and at least six years behind the richest urban young men. New goals need clear, measurable targets with indicators that will track the progress of the most disadvantaged.

Read the Gender Summary of the 2013/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report

Image | This entry was posted in Africa, Employment, Equality, Latin America, Learning, Literacy, Poverty, Primary school, Quality of education, Rural areas, Secondary school, Teachers, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to PHOTO BLOG: The state of girls’ education around the world

  1. India, Pakistan & Nigeria with the trend of advocacy, sensitization and mobilization in the rural communities in collaboration with NGO‘S, CSO‘S. MOTHERS ASSOCIATIONS, GIRLS CLUB are formed to ensure girls return to school. Today, we are working to achieved the Dakar framework for inclusive education. Despite political challenges, communities through SBMC are working with schools to promote girls return to school and are retain to completion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Inspirational stories and and moving photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. imagesister says:

    Interesting and striking

    Liked by 1 person

  4. annkelley14 says:

    Reblogged this on Ann'sRazzJazz and commented:
    Serious gender imbalance!

    Like

  5. segmation says:

    Thank you for reaching out and highlighting Girls Education. Bravo to you!

    Like

  6. bringreaner says:

    Great pictures and interviews, and really interesting information. But it was kind of distracting that in a few places the exact same paragraph repeated.

    Like

  7. birdwingfoundation says:

    Reblogged this on Birdwing Foundation.

    Like

  8. lmarks04 says:

    Good to see you talking about school around the globe since most Americans don’t know anything about other countries school systems. Let’s hope the future of public school is bright!
    dailyquizquestion.wordpress.com

    Like

  9. Everybody deserves education!

    Like

  10. haridasgowra says:

    good education post and moving photo is nice,…………#wordpress!

    Like

  11. erikleo says:

    See my blog: the posted TED talk about the importance of creativity in education.

    Like

  12. awax1217 says:

    I taught for forty years and some of my best students were female. The males tended to want to play and play but the girls were into deeper thoughts.

    Like

  13. Peter Giles says:

    What a delightful picture. I work in a girl’s school and am thrilled to see girls take their rightful place as contributor’s to society. Every time we help a girl to learn we help ourselves. Teach her science, teach her languages, teach her literacy and love of literature, teach her history and geography but most of all teach her how to think for herself.

    Like

  14. ashokbhatia says:

    A change in societal attitudes is what is necessary. It starts within the home, in the kitchen, in the courtyard and in the dining area. A long haul, no doubt.

    Like

  15. rohitmaiya says:

    Greetings from India. India is improving, but it still has a long way to go. How many Indian boys or sons help their mothers in the kitchen and other house work. It will be almost nil if the boy has a sister. How many parents allow their daughter to come home late? It is a man’s world. Better than the Gulf and sub-saharan countries, but a long way to go indeed.

    Like

  16. FemmenineNY says:

    This is truly a great and insightful article and I find that it is so important to make sure information like this is shared!

    Like

  17. Aarushi Gupta says:

    Society needs to change! There are so many thoughts and new ideas we can incorporate into our mentalities, and this article is a great start to it🙂

    Like

  18. adiari73 says:

    Reblogged this on adiari73.

    Like

  19. ykked says:

    Reblogged this on kyptonite and commented: 🙂

    Like

  20. yiyingggg says:

    Education is truly the only way to escape poverty. Since the doctrine of females being inferior to men is so difficult to change, we can only change the fate of these women to prove their worth. I am so glad I am a girls school where feminist thoughts are inculcated within us. Gender equality is what every country needs to achieve!

    Like

  21. jules says:

    Interesting article and data.
    Gender parity in education will always be a problem when misogyny is present, and even those girls that are fortunate enough to receive an education are likely to suffer from gender wage gaps too (even in the ‘developed’ world!)

    Like

  22. These schools and the girls and teachers in them show a real passion for education and a thirst for knowledge. Something we in western “developed” countries should seriously think about.

    Like

  23. hcmediate says:

    Reblogged this on hc Mediate and commented:
    This is a great blog! Thanks for posting it! We hope that more women become educated and provided proper schooling.

    Like

  24. kariegge says:

    Reblogged this on kariegge and commented:
    The most important investments we do in life are to support education of girls and literacy programmes for women

    Like

  25. thefemi says:

    Reblogged this on Femi and commented:
    The state of girls education around the world!!!

    Like

  26. Those are some sad statistics. I probably shouldn’t say this, but among the students I’ve tutored, the girls have beaten the boys hands down when it comes to quickness of learning and application of new skills. It’s a waste of ability not to have equal opportunities in education. Change is coming, though, in fact it’s been here for a while. Ladies are outshining men all over the place. You can’t keep a good woman down.

    Like

  27. Lampostgirl says:

    Reblogged this on Recipes from the edge and commented:
    Fantastic piece. Bravo.

    Like

  28. mukesh rai says:

    Reblogged this on .

    Like

  29. Mack says:

    Very nice topic ,something I learn today .

    Like

  30. callumdownes says:

    This restores my faith in the world somewhat… Still so frustrated over the inequalities I can see ad can’t wait to teach in a developing world, where it’s needed most.

    Like

  31. epearl13 says:

    Reblogged this on Exquisite Pearl Chronicles and commented:
    “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Oscar Wilde

    Like

  32. holmanpatrick says:

    Reblogged this on Holman Patrick.

    Like

  33. holmanpatrick says:

    Education is the key to allowing the developing world succeed and decide how it wants to evolve and participate in the international community. Every child, especially girls, deserves to have a basic education free from fear, intimidation and prejudice.

    Like

  34. It makes me realise how appreciative that I should be that I am able to easily get an full education. This information needs to be more publicised more people need to be aware of the education issues taking place in order for these issues to improve to the point of equality.

    Like

  35. isbischools says:

    Interesting article – reblogged this on isbischools

    Like

  36. Amazing Opportunities and Resources says:

    Great post!

    Like

  37. akmlearner says:

    Reblogged this on Miss Marra and commented:
    Very inspirational!

    Like

  38. tddorji says:

    Reblogged this on tddorji.

    Like

  39. ratnawalis says:

    Reblogged this on ratnawalis and commented:
    it is just a girl …

    Like

  40. Pingback: THE STATE OF GIRL’S EDUCATION AROUND THE WORLD | Quill and Parchment

  41. jasminamadis says:

    Reblogged this on jasminamadis and commented:
    I think everyone on this planet should be fighting for the education of every girl and women. Doesn’t matter what age or what kind of condition they are in everyone one of them have rights as humans to get a good education. This is another part of what I want to do in my life and another thing I want to fight for.

    Like

  42. AlluringEby says:

    So happy you took time to do this. In Nigeria, some parts are quite educated, but in some, especially where women and girls are regarded as third class voiceless citizens, the situation is really appaling

    Like

  43. Rosy says:

    Your effort is worth appreciating and it was great reading this article to increase the knowledge about condition of education in some developing and under developed nations.

    Like

  44. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    America, look at how education is changing girl’s lives.

    Like

  45. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Girls’ education around the world …..

    Like

  46. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged … “It Is What It Is” … Peace!!

    Like

  47. kinnearjulie says:

    Really a moving article! Hopefully every girl in the world will get a chance to change her life. Actually, education is not only about reading and writing skills, it helps us to understand what is going on around us and who we are.

    Like

  48. unread life says:

    Reblogged this on unread life and commented:
    I love that this is in pictures – it brings the whole issue home just a little more than in words. Beautiful, massively important and wonderfully done. Thank you.

    Like

  49. clearindia says:

    It is the wonderful blog, provides the best information regarding the education of the girls. The pictures in the blog provides the effective information. The one of the important thing is that as a reader of this blog, i have observed that how many women are in the world who are unable to read the simple sentences mostly in Pakistan, India and also in Nigeria.

    Like

  50. Pingback: 2014 – a year of reflection | World Education Blog

  51. Pingback: After College Here’s Why You Should Take A Gap Year. - TopWhoops

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