Violence Against Women and Girls: An Education Sector Brief

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Publisher/Author: The World Bank, The Global Women's Institute (GWU), IDB

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• Experiencing violence in schools can negatively impact girls’ enrollment as well as the quality of the education they receive. Evidence suggests that sexual harassment is widespread in educational settings in many parts of the world. For example, one study in Brazil found that 8% of students from 5th to 8th grade had witnessed sexual violence within the school environment.
• Parental concerns about girls’ safety in school and while traveling to and from school appear to lower female school enrollment in settings such as South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
• Children who have witnessed violence at home or experienced violence have lower educational attainment. A study in Nicaragua, for example, found that 63% of the children of abused women had to repeat a school year and dropped out of school on average four years earlier than others. In Zambia, girls who experienced sexual violence were found to have more difficulty concentrating on their studies, some students transferred to another school to escape harassment, and others dropped out of school because of pregnancy.
• Few ministries of education around the world have explicit policies on sexual violence and harassment as unacceptable, and few have developed guidelines on the definition of harassment and how educational institutions should respond. Often, only the most egregious cases of school-based sexual violence result in criminal prosecution.


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