SDG 4 has a strong gender perspective, grounded in evidence on the close links between girls’ education and social and economic development, including poverty reduction: one additional school year can increase a woman’s earnings by 10% to 20%; each year of secondary education reduces the likelihood of marrying as a child by five percentage points or more; and a child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five.
To date, only two thirds of the world’s countries have achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment, and just over one third have achieved parity in lower secondary enrolment.
Girls living in rural poverty still face the greatest barriers to education, and families that cannot afford to send all children to school may choose to send only their sons. Such educational gaps can undermine a girl’s earnings in later life, and her chances of genuine participation in society.
However, SDG 4 goes far beyond enrolment. It also recognizes the challenges presented by a lack of the necessary increases in resources, infrastructure and teachers to cope with the growing number of students in schools, often resulting in poor learning outcomes.
UNESCO estimates from 2012 suggested that, globally, approximately 250 million children of primary school age had not acquired basic literacy or numeracy skills, some even after four years of schooling
SDG 4 emphasizes learning outcomes driven by curricula reform, teacher training and the reduction of violence against girls in school, and covers all types of learning (formal, informal, technical and vocational).
The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 4 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.
Below is an overview of other important gender equality issues related to this SDG that are not currently reflected in the 2019 SDG Gender Index due to data gaps.
Despite the Kenya's progressive policy frameworks to improve gender equality and equity, girls and women still face discrimination.Read more
As we mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, EM2030 seeks to share insights from its Global Advocates Survey on the issue of GBV.Read more
Aminata has been a passionate advocate for the protection of children since 1990 when she had the opportunity to represent Senegal at the UN Summit in West Africa when she was just 12.Read more
“In some families, children are born leaders. I think I was born this way. Education is key to stopping female genital mutilation. We must talk about the issue at school. We need the support of the Ministry to keep girls in school, so they can fight the issue in their community.”
Only 39% of countries have equal proportions of boys and girls enrolled in secondary education.
If all girls had a primary education, there would be 14% fewer child marriages and if all girls had a secondary education, there would be two-thirds fewer child marriages.
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