The education Sustainable Development Goal includes a commitment to ensuring that all children – regardless of their gender and circumstances within which they are born – should complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018 re-affirmed the importance of 12 years of quality education for all, particularly marginalised groups including disadvantaged girls. To inform these commitments, this paper aims to situate the current evidence on girls’ education across the 53 countries in the Commonwealth, with a particular focus on low- and lower-middle income countries where the challenges are the greatest. It identifies the current status of access to school and learning, and highlights trends in domestic and aid financing to support the targets. It then presents evidence on interventions aimed at tackling barriers to girls’ access and learning to achieve the commitments. The paper argues a need not only to focus on gender parity in education – i.e. an equal proportion of girls and boys in school and learning – but also to pay greater attention to the more ambitious target of gender equality, which requires an end to discrimination if a truly level playing field is to be achieved.
- girls' education
- Commonwealth countries