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Plummeting enrolments and escalating violence against girls
Before the civil conflict started girls in Liberia already had fewer educational opportunities than boys, kept out of school by discrimination, poverty and household obligations. However gender inequality in education was exacerbated by the civil conflict and instability. According to the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, between 2000 and 2002, girls’ gross enrolment ratio declined from 72.5% to 35.5% . During the conflict, which ended in 2003, thousands of girls were the targets of specific physical and emotional gender based violence and abuse and were subject to rape, forced prostitution, torture, forced termination of pregnancies and mutilation. To try to address the continuing gender disparities and high levels of gender violence against girls, in 2005 the Liberian Ministry of Education worked with UNICEF to develop a national policy on girls’ education.
Story compiled thanks to Abraham Conneh, Education Programme Officer, Oxfam GB Liberia and Heather Johnston, West Africa Regional Education Programme Manager, Oxfam GB