SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
All developing regions of the world have achieved — or almost achieved — equal enrolment of boys and girls in primary school. This is an historic accomplishment, but far from complete. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 23 per cent of poor rural girls finish primary school. Gender gaps widen significantly in many countries in secondary and tertiary schools .
Education is a right. It empowers individuals to increase their well-being and contributes to broader social and economic gains. Improved education accounts for about 50 per cent of economic growth in Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development countries over the past five decades . About half is due to more women entering higher levels of education, and greater equality as to the years men and women spend in school.
For education to deliver, it must be inclusive and high-quality. Active efforts to end gender stereotypes must tackle those that limit schooling or channel women and girls into ‘acceptable’ areas of study or work.
For all girls and boys, men and women, education must be available across their lifetimes. Pre-primary education establishes a foundation on which all later schooling can build. Ongoing learning for adults broadens choices for productive and fulfilling lives.
UN Women acts to promote education — a core pre-requisite for gender equality and women’s rights – through the revision of school curricula and policies to counteract gender discrimination, improving access to information technologies, and training for teachers, students and parents. Along with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, UN Women has developed a non-formal educational curriculum to prevent violence against women and girls, which educators and youth leaders are being trained to deliver in more than a dozen countries.
Coming of age, youth become gender equality champions in Kyrgyzstan
A UN Women project supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, is gathering peer educators and teachers from seven regions of Kyrgyzstan for a series of trainings to deepen their knowledge of gender equality, violence against women, bride kidnapping and forced early marriage.
In Afghanistan, women and girls strive to get an education
In a country where education for all remains a challenge, UN Women is supporting efforts to reach women and girls through English classes and trainings in computer skills.
 OECD (2012), Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship: Final Report to the MCM 2012, p. 19.