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Jan 15

Moments of Voice for Malala
Malala Yousufzai, a fifteen year old Pakistani blogger, has been using her voice ...

Nov 27

Information and Communication Technology
A new article in The Guardian explores how information and communication technology can be used to empower girls worldwide. ...

Oct 2

Half the Sky
AUDACIA participants will be interested to see this new piece of work from Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn ...

Aug 17

10.11.12 International Day of the Girl
Thanks to the tireless efforts of AUDACIA participant Plan International, and its partners, the United Nations has declared October 11, 2012 to be the first-ever International Day of the Girl. ...

August 3

DFID Girls’ Education Challenge
DFID, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, is sponsoring a Girls’ Education Challenge. ...


“Being a girl still remains a powerful cause for exclusion despite universally enshrined human rights, constitutional guarantees and political declarations. Although progress towards gender parity has been particularly rapid over the past decade, girls are more likely to be out of primary school than boys – a blatant denial of their right to education. At the secondary level, when girls reach the vulnerable age of adolescence, their participation declines in certain parts of the world due to unsafe learning environments and social demands. 

  • The [UNESCO Education] Digest finds that 60% of countries have not reached gender parity in primary and secondary education – a goal that had been set for 2005 at both the World Education Forum and the Millennium Summit at the turn of the century.
  • The share of illiterate women has not changed over the past twenty years: women still represented two-thirds of the world’s 759 million illiterates in 2008. A broad set of social, cultural and political factors are still severely limiting girls’ and women’s learning opportunities.
  • When gender combines with other factors of exclusion such as poverty, ethnicity, location or disability, the chances of being uneducated are even higher. Such inequalities are holding back progress in all areas, from improved child and maternal health to overall poverty reduction efforts.
  • A UN Report prepared for this occasion [The United Nations High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in September 2010] finds that progress towards women’s empowerment and gender equality has been ‘sluggish on all fronts – from education to access to political decision-making.'

All of these findings tell us that we need to re-affirm our commitment to education and gender equality. Past evidence shows that girls and women are more hardly hit in times of crises. In education, the advances made in improving girls’ and women’s access to education and training over the past decade risk being undermined by reductions in international aid and national investments caused by the interlocking financial, environmental and humanitarian crises.

Yet, we all know that compromising the education of girls and women will only lead to more vulnerability and reinforce the vicious cycle of poverty. Education for All will remain elusive without tackling one of the most egregious forms of injustice of our times: the denial of equal rights to girls and women.

The challenge is not merely a question of access to learning, but much more broadly, of challenging gender ideologies in both education and society.… It is the most fundamental condition for making our world more just and peaceful.”

(Source: Global Education Digest 2010, UNESCO Institute of Statistics).