While most American girls either enjoy or loathe their high school years, most girls worldwide don’t get the opportunity to attend.
“Just 39 percent of rural girls attend secondary school,” UN Women said Tuesday. “This is far fewer than rural boys (45 percent), urban girls (59 percent) and urban boys (60 percent).”
Lack of a high school education can mean poverty and even earlier death, the UN said.
“Data from 68 countries indicates that a woman’s education is a key factor in determining a child’s survival,” according to UN statistics. “Children of mothers with no education in the Latin American and Caribbean region are 3.1 times more likely to die than those with mothers who have secondary or tertiary education, and 1.6 more likely to die that those whose mothers have primary-level education.”
Lack of local schools is one reason fewer girls attend high school.
A study in Pakistan showed distance from school resulted in a 20-percent reduction in attendance, the UN said, while studies in Egypt, Indonesia and Africa show that placing schools closer to home results in higher attendance.
“Women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate people,” the UN said, and “Every additional year of primary school increases girls’ eventual wages by 10–20 percent. It also encourages them to marry later and have fewer children, and leaves them less vulnerable to violence.”
UN Women, established in 2010, said its goals are:
To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
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