The Millennium Development Goals challenge all UN member states to "eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015." The current state of gender disparity can be assessed with data from the Global Education Digest 2004 from UNESCO, which has estimates for the male and female secondary school net enrollment ratio (NER) in 141 countries. This data was used to create the map below.
Gender disparity in secondary school: male-female net enrollment ratio, 2001/2002
Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). 2004. Global Education Digest 2004. Montreal: UIS.
Compared to primary education, girls are not as disadvantaged in secondary education. On the contrary, in many countries the enrollment of boys lags behind that of girls. This is the case in 29 of 34 countries in Latin America and in 32 of 34 industrialized countries. The opposite is true in West and Central Africa: in 11 of the 12 countries with data in this region, girls have lower enrollment rates than boys. (Regions follow the grouping used by UNICEF.) Overall, in 96 countries girls are favored and in 45 countries boys are favored.
In eight countries, the secondary school NER of girls is 10 percentage points or more above that of boys: Suriname (22% difference in NER), St. Lucia (18%), St. Kitts and Nevis (17%), Mongolia (13%), Dominican Republic and Namibia (12%), and the Philippines and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (10%). In eight other countries, the secondary school NER of boys is 10 percentage points or more above that of girls: Yemen (26% difference), Togo (19%); Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, and Tajikistan (14%); Guinea (11%), and Cambodia (10%). In 63 countries, the difference between the male and female NER is in the range ±3%.
Friedrich Huebler, 9 April 2005 (edited 12 October 2008), Creative Commons License
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