When you can read, you know what decisions the country’s politicians are making. When you can count, you can manage your own livelihood. When you know how to use a computer and a mobile phone, the world around you gets bigger.
Today, nearly as many girls as boys start primary education. In 2015, in two out of three developing countries, the same number of girls and boys were receiving primary education. Improvement in girls’ schooling has been one of the most important gender equality achievements of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The schooling gap between girls and boys has narrowed in primary, secondary and higher education. For example, in South Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary education for every 100 boys in 1990. In 2015, the ratio was 103 girls for every 100 boys.
Finland has been supporting girls’ and women’s schooling for decades and it remains one of the key objectives of Finland’s development cooperation. There is still work to do: Even when girls started school, they often drop out because of child marriages, teenage pregnancy or economic reasons.
Photo: Kirsi Pere, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta