Interactive data tool brings together data, maps and charts to highlight the educational pathways of girls and women in more than 200 countries and territories

To mark International Women’s Day  (March 8) the UIS is releasing a new edition of the UNESCO eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education.

The eAtlas provides a wide range of sex-disaggregated data produced by the UIS for all levels of education. Maps, charts, and detailed background information highlight the persistent barriers girls and women must overcome to get an education.

Data show progress, but also persistent barriers

For example, a map on enrolment rates highlights the trouble spots where girls can barely get a foot in the classroom. In Afghanistan and South Sudan, there are only about 70 girls enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys while large gaps persist in countries like the Central African Republic (76 girls for every 100 boys), Chad (78 girls for 100 boys) as well as Guinea, Eritrea, Niger and Pakistan (85-86 girls each).  

Southern Asia has seen tremendous progress on school life expectancy. A girl in this region, starting school today, can expect to receive about 12 years of education, compared to only 6 years in 1990. In contrast, a girl in sub-Saharan African can only expect to receive about 9 years of schooling, while boys receive 10 years.

Connecting data to policies

Numerous studies show the positive effects that female teachers can have on girls. Data show that the share of women teaching in primary schools has risen globally from 56% to 65% between 1990 and 2016. But, the region with widest gender gap and the highest rate of exclusion is the only one to have more men teaching than women.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, the share of female primary teachers has barely moved over the past two decades from 42% to 46%. In most countries of the region, women still account for a minority of teachers as in the case of Liberia (13%), South Sudan (15%), Togo (16%), Benin (24%) and Djibouti (27%).

These findings take on a whole new perspective in light of out-of-school rates in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of out-of-school children, with more than one in five children of primary age. Girls are the first to be excluded, with 24% of all girls in this age group not in school compared to 18% of boys. In Northern Africa and Western Asia, 12% of girls are out of school compared to 10% of boys.

At the country level, more than one-half of girls of primary school age are not in school in Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia and South Sudan. The female primary out-of-school rate is at least 10 percentage points higher than the male rate in countries like Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan and Yemen.

Disparities grow at higher levels of education

UIS data also show that the rates of exclusion and related gender gaps tend to rise with higher levels of education in many regions and countries. For example, there are now more women pursuing Bachelor's degrees globally than men, but the persistence of gender inequalities discourage women from reaching the highest levels of study and they now account for less than 30% of the world’s researchers.

The UNESCO eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education puts these data at the fingertips of education advocates and policymakers to help ensure that girls and women benefit fully from the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals.