On 7 July 2014, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held a General Discussion on the Right to Education for Girls and Women, the aim of which is to commence the Committee’s process of elaborating a “General Recommendation on girls’/women’s right to education.”
Thirteen organizations from around the world, included the Right to Education Initiative, presented a written submission to CEDAW on ‘Privatization and its Impact on the Right to Education of Women and Girls,’ highlighting evidence from a range of countries showing that more boys are enrolled in schools than girls, a problem that is exacerbated by the increasing privatization of education. Privatization in many cases deepens gender discrimination in education because already marginalized and vulnerable groups, including women and girls, are more disadvantaged by private provision and are the least able to pay for services.
This advocacy factsheet is based on Right to Education Initiative report At What Age…are school-children employed, married and taken to court? Trends over time (2011), which provides analysis of legal minimum age for education, marriage, employment and criminal responsibility across 187 countries and raises questions regarding the cross-section of these issues and their effect on the right to education. The factsheet has been developed to be used by civil society organisations to advocate for improving legislation regarding the minimum age for marriage and the minimum age for leaving school. It gives a brief overview of the issue of early marriage and its impact on education, highlighting statistical data, good practice in law and policy, as well as case studies. It also provides tools and policy recommendations and suggests concrete actions to be taken. It aims at encouraging activists and organisations to monitor the minimum age for marriage and the minimum age for leaving school and to advocate for improving the legislation when needed.
This report provides analysis of legal minimum ages for education, marriage, employment and criminal responsibility across 187 countries and raises questions regarding the cross-section of these issues and their effect on the right to education. Based on States Parties’ reports to the CRC Committee and analysed through the lens of the 4As, the report stresses the fundamental importance of eliminating contradictory legislation and practices that still undermine the right to education.
This legal factsheet explains the specific legal obligations international human rights law imposes on states to eliminate harmful gender stereotypes and wrongful gender stereotyping.
Children in Afghanistan – and their households may face war, displacement, migration and natural disasters in trying to access education, in addition to more common difficulties such as poverty and lack of access. This study, part of the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics (UNESCO UIS), seeks to identify the barriers preventing children in Afghanistan from attending school, identify gaps in the current approaches to addressing these barriers and provide policy recommendations to move forward effectively. This is in line with the studies conducted elsewhere at the country and regional level for the out-of-school children initiative (OOSCI), based on existing data.
The African continent has the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world, according to the United Nations. Every year, thousands of girls become pregnant at the time when they should be learning history, algebra, and life skills. Adolescent girls who have early and unintended pregnancies face many social and financial barriers to continuing with formal education.
All girls have a right to education regardless of their pregnancy, marital or motherhood status. The right of pregnant—and sometimes married—girls to continue their education has evoked emotionally charged discussions across African Union member states in recent years. These debates often focus on arguments around “morality,” that pregnancy outside wedlock is morally wrong, emanating from personal opinions and experiences, and wide-ranging interpretations of religious teachings about sex outside of marriage. The effect of this discourse is that pregnant girls – and to a smaller extent, school boys who impregnate girls– have faced all kinds of punishments, including discriminatory practices that deny girls the enjoyment of their right to education. In some of the countries researched for this report, education is regarded as a privilege that can be withdrawn as a punishment.
This paper firstly sets out the legal and political frameworks on gender equality in education to which states have committed and then describes how they have committed.
In the second section, the content of states’ commitments to achieve gender equality in education is explained, including the normative content of relevant provisions found in international and regional human rights treaties and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This section also includes a classification of states according to what legal commitments to women and girls’ right to education they have made.
The final section details how states can be held accountable for failure to meet their legal commitments to gender equality in education, including what mechanisms are available and examples of how these mechanisms have been used to hold states accountable.
Attacks on education by the insurgent group Boko Haram have caused horrific and long-term suffering for female students and teachers in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram has abducted over 600 girls and young women from school during the nine-year conflict, with some held in captivity for years, and many experiencing harmful repercussions long after they return home.
The 106-page report, “‘I Will Never Go Back to School’: Impact of Attacks on Education for Nigerian Women and Girls,” is based on interviews with 119 victims and eyewitnesses of attacks on schools and education, including survivors of the three largest school abductions in Nigeria: Chibok (April 2014), Damasak (November 2014), and Dapchi (February 2018). Women and girls speak out about their terrifying experiences, including forced conversion to Islam, forced “marriage,” rape, and other physical and psychological violence, in the report.