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International Womens Day 2016 Ending global inequality in education

International Womens Day 2016: Ending global inequality in education

International Womens Day 2016: Ending global inequality in education

At last years Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta, leaders stressed that national prosperity cannot be achieved unless women and girls are able to participate effectively in all levels of society. They recognised education as fundamental to achieving gender parity.

To mark this years International Womens Day, the Commonwealth Secretariat will hold a panel discussion in London on 8 March under the theme,Sustained education of women and girls for their economic and political empowerment.Planet 50 50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equalityis this years international theme.

The panel comprises a number of experts in the areas of health, gender and development and human rights, such as Rashida Manjoo, a Professor in the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town. Discussions will focus on unravelling barriers to achieving parity in education and will explore opportunities to get more women into leadership and decision-making positions.

An end to global inequality in education would bring a brighter future for our children. Girls education is both an intrinsic right and a critical lever to reaching all the Sustainable Development Goals. Providing girls with quality education helps break the cycle of poverty and create a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come, said Amelia Kinahoi-Siamomua, Head of the Commonwealth Secretariats Gender Section.

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SDG5 focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. There are nine targets that aim to end all forms of discrimination against women, including violence against women and girls amongst others.  Depriving girls of quality education will not support the achievement of these SDGs.

According to theWorld Bank, although school enrolment rates for girls have risen, 32 million girls of lower secondary school age in developing countries are not in school, and only 13% of the poorest rural adolescent girls complete lower secondary school in South and West Asia.

The Secretariat joins other development partners in recognising that greater efforts need to be made to prevent girls in school from dropping out because of sexual harassment, pregnancy, child, early and forced marriage, inadequate sanitation and unequal division of chores in the home.

The importance of girls remaining in school and being able to pursue tertiary level education is essential for women to be equipped with the necessary skills to take on decision-making and leadership roles and effectively contribute to sustainable development. To deny this represents a violation of human rights and the loss of a huge contribution to society, added Ms Kinahoi-Siamomua.

Abaseline studypublished by the Secretariat in 2015, and shared at last years firstCommonwealth Womens Forumprior to the Commonwealths leaders summit, found that while some progress had been made to reach the 30% target of women in political leadership roles, in the corporate sector the number of women at the top falls below 20% in most countries.

A womens leadership advocacy forum organised by the Secretariat in June 2015 explored pipelines for women into leadership roles and highlighted the importance of providing education for young women in subjects and skills that enable them to take up executive-level positions. The Secretariat continues to work in this area to promote womens leadership in the public and private sectors.

– 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers 20CCEM

20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers 20CCEM

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Commonwealth marks International Human Rights Day

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