Welcome to the October installment of The Puggle, where the Echidna Giving team highlights emerging issues and findings related to girls’ education. There was so much interesting data that came out this month that we’re trying something new. In this post we feature five facts and figures that inform work in girls’ education. In case that has you feeling spooked, we also showcase two examples of new work around solutions.
#1. The latest Global Education Monitoring Report reveals that countries have made remarkable progress in achieving gender parity in the past 15 years.
#2. That said, a recent policy brief from the Population Council (funded by Echidna Giving) shows that over roughly the same time period, only 3 of 43 countries studied made substantial progress in achieving gender parity and ensuring that the vast majority of girls complete primary school: Ghana, Sierra Leone and the tiny island nation of Comoros.
#3. The fact that many of the countries in which progress in girls’ education has stagnated are in Africa is significant because There’s a strong chance a third of all people on earth will be African by 2100. This means that ever more students can either benefit from improvements in these education systems or suffer from stagnation. (And of course more education for girls in Africa may stem the speed of population growth since more educated women tend to have fewer children.)
#4. Even if a the vast majority of girls did complete primary school, this study in World Development suggests that "a primary school education is not sufficient to exit poverty. A sizeable minority of the extreme poor—about 39%—graduated primary school, and over a quarter of those who completed primary school but not secondary school live on less than $3.10 per day."
#5. Save the Children finds that girls and boys in primary school are gender biased: “in Sierra Leone, for example, 70% of 4th grade boys and 28% of girls agree that boys are smarter than girls. Boys are more likely to endorse statements about unequal gender norms, but these beliefs are common among girls, too.”
#7. To mix things up, instead of reading another report check out this new podcast series from ODI that provides an overview of how social norms influence the lives of adolescent girls and how communications, policy changes, and role models and help to shift them.