This General Recommendation by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women aims to clarify the scope and meaning of Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which provides ways for States parties to implement domestically the substantive provisions of the Convention.

See paragraphs 13, 21 and 36 for references to education.

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This Report provides an overview of what countries are doing to ensure the right to education for girls and women. Based on the national reports of forty countries from different regions, the Report is organized in a series of country factsheets. Each factsheet contains key statistics on the situation of girls in education in each reporting country, followed by information on each country’s status of ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) as well as information on their constitutional and legislative provisions in this field. They illustrate how countries have made noteworthy advances in addressing gender inequalities and in eliminating discriminatory attitudes towards girls and women in the field of education.

The Report is based on national reports submitted for the Eighth Consultation on the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (1960).

 

Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, due to their affiliation with political or religious groups, a great number of Iranian students were temporarily or permanently deprived of their right to education. Many students were expelled from university for membership in non-Islamic groups. In recent years the number of students whom organizations under the supervision and control of the Iranian regime has banned or “starred” from education has increased dramatically.

The Right to Education Report aims to raise awareness by providing comprehensive reporting on cases of student rights violations and any other form of education deprivation in Iran throughout the last three decades.

Women’s lives are impacted by a myriad of issues such as the frequent lack of basic services; inequality; lack of accountability of States, corporations and other global actors; discriminatory cultural stereotypes, beliefs and the impact of harmful practices; religious fundamentalisms and development agendas which exclude consideration of the rights and experiences of women and differences between women. Within this context, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) are the two key human rights instruments which provide a forum for demanding realisation of women’s human rights.

This guide, created in conjunction with IWRAW-Asia Pacific, provides a practical guide to using both CEDAW and ICESCR as well as their complaints mechanisms to demand recognition and implementation of women's ESC rights, including the right to education. 

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In April 2015 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued a statement banning pregnant girls from mainstream education. The exclusion of pregnant girls from mainstream education and from sitting exams is a violation of their right to education and a discriminatory measure which reinforces negative stereotypes about girls. Enforcement of the ban was immediate and was done through searches and physical examination of girls. Threatening their physical integrity and privacy Despite the establishment by the government with the support of some international donors of an alternative “bridging “ education system that would allow pregnant girls to continue going to school, there are still concerns about the human rights of the girls. Mainly for their lack of choice in attending one system or the other, their inability to take exams and the persistent stigmatisation of the ban.

The present report focuses on girls’ right to education. In view of the first assessment of the Millennium Development Goals, the Special Rapporteur wished to focus on Goals 2 and 3, on universal primary education and gender equality. The Special Rapporteur addresses the sociocultural context of gender discrimination by defining the concept of patriarchalism, which underpins discriminatory behaviours. He denounces the negative impact on education, and especially on girls’ education, of the persistent consideration of education as being a service rather than a human right and insists on the importance of ensuring not only girls’ access to school but also their completion of the education cycle. The report identifies obstacles to education for girls, such as early marriages and pregnancies, child labour (especially domestic work) and armed conflicts.

The Special Rapporteur draws attention to aggravating factors and highlights the key role of human rights education and its concrete implementation at the classroom level to combat gender discrimination and stereotypes. The report also summarises replies received to the questionnaire sent to different stakeholders to solicit information on the realization of the right to education for girls, extracting major trends from the replies and validating his findings. The report provides a set of recommendations based on the four elements identified as components of the right to education, namely, availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability.

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Parallel Report submitted by the National Campaign for Education-Nepal, the Nepal National Teachers Association (NNTA), the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other partners, including the Right to Education Project, on the occasion of the examination of the report of Nepal during the 72nd session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. 

The report shows that the growth of unregulated private education in Nepal supported by the State, is creating and entrenching segregation in education, threatens access to education for girls and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and is a cause of discrimination with regards to access to quality education. As pointed out recently by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), such segregation in itself constitutes a human rights violation and must be ended.2 Segregation is also the source of other human rights abuses, including discrimination on the grounds of socio-economic background, gender and caste, a limitation on the right to free quality education, and the lowering of education quality. This situation is extremely problematic because of the injustices it generates which threaten the fragile social cohesion and peace that exist in Nepal. If the situation remains the same, experience shows that the education system is bound to generate instability and protests in an already unstable country that is slowly trying to recover from conflict and humanitarian disaster.

This Resolution (A/HRC/RES/32/20) was presented by the United Arab Emirates and adopted by consensus. The resolution links back to the panel discussion held by the Council during its 29th session, on this topic and the OHCHR report on that panel discussion (A/HRC/30/23).

The resolution urges States to eliminate discrimination against girls in education and remove all obstacles such as discriminatory laws, custom, tradition or religious considerations, financial barriers, violence, child labour, harmful practices (eg: FGM), gender stereotypes, child, early and forced marriage and early pregnancy.  It also called on States to:

  • Ensure that educational institutions are safe and free from violence and abuse and girls can travel to and from and attend school safely
  • Address the school drop-out rate of girls and ensure that there are primary and secondary school places available for girls within a reasonable distance from home
  • Provide equal access to education for girls from marginalised and excluded groups, with disabilities, indigenous girls, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, girls in rural areas and economically disadvantaged girls
  • Provide every primary and secondary school with professionally trained and qualified teachers, including female teachers and with full access to separate, adequate and safe water and sanitation services
  • Develop a non-discriminatory, inclusive, accessible and culturally sensitive, safe, supportive and secure environment conducive to providing a quality education, including human rights education….and financial literacy …. to enable girls to be proactive actors in society
  • Eliminate gender based stereotypes from all educational processes, practices and teaching materials
  • Prioritise education in State budgets, increase investments and international cooperation to allow all girls to complete free, equitable, inclusive and quality education and support developing countries through financial and technical resources for ‘country-led national education plans’
  • Support access to education for girls in emergency situations, migrant, internally displaced and refugee girls and those in humanitarian crises and conflict situations.

Finally, the resolution requests the OHCHR to prepare a report to be presented at the June 2017 session of the Human Rights Council on: ‘the realisation of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl’, ‘obstacles limiting effective access’ and ‘recommendations on appropriate measures to eliminate gender disparities in education by 2030, taking into account Goal 4 of the SDGs’.

Violence in schools and other educational settings is a worldwide problem. Students who are perceived not to conform to prevailing sexual and gender norms, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), are more vulnerable. Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, also referred to as homophobic and transphobic violence, is a form of school-related gender-based violence. It includes physical, sexual and psychological violence and bullying and, like other forms of school-related violence, can occur in classes, playgrounds, toilets and changing rooms, on the way to and from school and online. This report presents the findings of a global review, commissioned by UNESCO, of homophobic and transphobic violence in schools and education sector responses.

More than 40 percent of Tanzania’s adolescents are left out of quality lower-secondary education despite the government’s positive decision to make lower-secondary education free.

This report examines obstacles, including some rooted in outmoded government policies, that prevent more than 1.5 million adolescents from attending secondary school and cause many students to drop out because of poor quality education. The problems include a lack of secondary schools in rural areas, an exam that limits access to secondary school, and a discriminatory government policy to expel pregnant or married girls.

For a summary, see here.

For an esay to read version, in English, see here.

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