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Gender inequality: Making room for girls
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Gender inequality: Making room for girls

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Gender inequality: Making room for girls

IN THIS week's print edition we look at an important issue in development economics: how to reduce the gap between the number of girls and boys being educated in poor countries.Economists see reducing sexual inequality in education as a vital part of promoting development. The failure to educate girls limits economic growth in the developing world by wasting human capital. As a result, the UN set itself the target of eliminating gender disparity in education at all levels by 2015, as one of its Millennium Development Goals.Although places like China, Bangladesh and Indonesia look likely to achieve the target, Africa, in particular, will not. For every 100 boys in secondary school on the continent in 2010, there were only 82 girls. The most common response is to channel more money to girlsí education. UN schemes finance school places for girls in 15 sub-Saharan countries. NGOs have got involved too. Camfed, a charity, now pays for almost 100,000 girls to be educated in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.Looking at recently-published UN statistics on gender inequality in education, one observes that the overall picture has improved dramatically over the last decade, but progress has not been even (see chart). Although the developing world on average looks likely to hit the UNís gender-inequality target, many parts of Africa are lagging behind. While progress is ...


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