Sixteen million girls shut out of the classroom: UNESCO

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Mariam Soumaguel is a teacher for first-year class at Alpha Moya School, in Timbuktu, Mali. She contributes to build a future for conflict-affected children and a peaceful and equitable Mali, through education. Photo: UNICEF/UNI203065/Dicko

Twice as many girls as boys will never set foot in a classroom despite global efforts to close the gender gap in education.

That means nearly 16 million girls worldwide between the ages of six and 11 will never get the chance to learn how to read or write, if current trends continue.

The finding comes in a study launched Wednesday by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Dianne Penn reports.

The report shows that girls are still the first to be denied the right to education despite global progress made over the past 20 years. 

The UNESCO eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education says almost 16 million girls of primary school age will never start school, compared to about eight million boys.

Gender disparities are highest in the Arab States, sub-Saharan Africa and in South and West Asia.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova is calling for leaders at all levels to put equity and inclusion at the heart of their policies so that girls can get an education, stay in school and become empowered citizens.

The report is being released ahead of International Women's Day, observed next Tuesday, 08 March.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 50″

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