Education gives people the best chance to fulfil their potential in life and determine their own futures. This brings huge benefits not just for the individual, but for their children and entire communities and countries.
Despite significant progress on access to education in recent years, girls and young women are less likely to finish school than boys and young men. This is particularly true for women and girls living in poverty or with disabilities.
Millions of girls remain out of school due to multiple, intersecting barriers. These include social norms that prioritise boys’ education and make girls responsible for care work at home and, violence on the way to or in school.
Without education, girls are less likely to have control over their own income and more likely to face early and forced marriage and intimate partner violence.
Explore GADN resources and learn more about girls’ education.
GADN Working Group
The Girls’ Education in International Development Working Group enables practitioners, academics and other partners to discuss the latest research, programmes and policies on girls’ education. The Group work together to conduct, synthesize and dissem
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Girls are 1.5 times more likely than boys to be completely excluded from primary education.
At the end of 2015, fewer than half of all countries had achieved gender parity in education at secondary level.
Structural inequality within families and communities prevent and limit girls’ education; these include traditional attitudes about women’s role as caregivers, and expectations of early marriage and pregnancy.
For girls who do go to school, the quality of education is often poor because class sizes are large, schools lack basic equipment and teachers are under-qualified. Gender-biased or gender-blind policies, exacerbate the problem - such as a lack of clean water, gender-segregated latrines and sanitary facilities. It is made worse by a shortage or absence of female teachers as role models.
These barriers are so persistent that many girls who do enrol, fail to progress from primary to secondary school. At a secondary and higher education level, the gender gap widens, particularly in subjects traditionally seen as masculine such as science and maths. At university level, women who do enrol often don’t pursue higher-level degrees.
Education is essential for women to attain equality, and has a significant multiplier effect. Educated girls and women tend to be healthier, earn more income and are more likely to access healthcare services.
A Girl's Right to Learn Without Fear - Plan (2013)
Action and Interactions : Gender Equality in Teaching and Education Management, Cameroon- VSO (2012)
Banks in the DRC: the community that saves together stays together (Blog). The Guardian (2014)
Delivering learning for life - Plan (2013)
Education Counts: Towards the Millennium Development Goals. Education for All-UNESCO (2011)
Engendering Change through Gender Clubs in Ghana. VSO. (2015)
Girls’ Learning: Investigating the classroom practices that promote girls’ learning. Postles, C., Moore, K., Reilly, A., and Naylor, R. (2013)
The Hidden Crisis: Armed conflict and education. Education for All-UNESCO (2011)
Improving village education: Improving enrolment and retention of girls in primary schools in South Sudan. Africa Education Trust. (2011)
Interagency Network on Education in Emergencies (INEE) Pocket Guide to Gender. INEE c/o UNHCR. (2010)
Stop Violence Against Girls in School Report: A cross country analysis from Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique. Parkes, J and Heslop, J. (2011)
Teaching and Learning: Achieving Education for All. Education for All-UNESCO (2014)
Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria. Wetheridge L. and Mamedu, A. (2013).
Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria and Tanzania. Unterhalter, E. and Hesler, J. (2011)
Transforming Education for Girls in Tanzania. Wetheridge, L., Kapaya , O., Unterhalter, E., & Heslop, J (2012)
IOE (via UCL IRIS)
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