United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative
The United Nations Girls# Education Initiative (UNGEI) is the Education for All (EFA) flagship for girls# education, a partnership of organizations committed to narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education. It also seeks to ensure that, by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to free, quality education. UNGEI was launched in April 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar by then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in response to a troubling reality: of the millions of children worldwide who were not in school, more than half were girls – a reality that remains true today.
Since 2008, a significant contribution of UNGEI has been the “Gender Review” of the EFA annual Global Monitoring Report (GMR). This review critically examines the strengths and gaps evident in the monitoring of EFA goals from a gender perspective, and informs advocacy messages on education and gender equality in key thematic areas for governments, development partners and civil society actors.
This year#s GMR report, The hidden crises: Armed conflict and education, is an excellent and timely account of the way in which conflict is destroying opportunities for education globally. More than 40 per cent of out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries; these same countries have some of the largest gender inequalities and lowest literacy levels in the world. The report asserts that “being female, poor and living in a country affected by conflict are three of the most pervasive risk factors for children being out of school.”
UNGEI is deeply appreciative of the GMR and its accompanying gender overview and offers this gender review to complement the findings of the report. The review is meant to be a stand-alone document and attempts to distil the main messages on gender and education in the report and further sharpen the gender analysis, particularly by making visible the gender dimensions of EFA goals that do not have an explicit gender mandate and drawing linkages across goals and ideas that may otherwise get glossed over in a lengthier report.
As we look towards the 2012 report and beyond, UNGEI is committed to exploring additional ways in which it can proactively support gender analysis and continue its active collaboration in our common quest: education for all.