UNESCO and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) have published a new World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education that illustrates the participation of girls and boys in pre-primary, primary, secondary, and tertiary education. The data show that there has been significant progress towards gender parity since the 1970s. Two thirds of all countries have reached gender parity in primary education but at the secondary level of education girls are still lagging behind. In some countries, girls have the advantage with regard to access to and completion of education. At the tertiary level, female students outnumber male students in many high-income countries.
The atlas is divided into eight chapters that contain a total of 28 maps and close to 100 charts and tables:
- Increased worldwide demand for quality schooling
- Girls’ right to education
- Enrolment and gender trends: primary education
- Enrolment and gender trends: secondary education
- Enrolment and gender trends: tertiary education
- Trends in school-life expectancy
- Gender trends: adult and youth literacy
- How policies affect gender equality in education
An excerpt from Chapter 7 on literacy is shown below. The map (please click the image for a larger view) visualizes adult literacy rates from the database of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Among countries with data, literacy rates are lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The highest adult literacy rates are observed in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. For many developed countries, the adult literacy rate is unknown because these countries have achieved universal primary education and no longer report data on the traditional literate-illiterate dichotomy, focusing instead on the more narrowly defined concept of functional literacy.
The atlas is available in English, French and Spanish. In addition, UNESCO and UIS plan to launch an online e-atlas with interactive maps.
- UNESCO. 2012. World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education. Paris: UNESCO. (Download in PDF format, 6.4 MB)
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)
- UNESCO announcement of the atlas
- UIS announcement of the atlas
- UIS Data Centre
- Global Education Digest 2011
- EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011
- Adult and youth literacy in 2009
- Trends in adult literacy, 1990-2008
- Regional disparities in school life expectancy
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