millennium goals
2395 University Avenue, Suite 202, St. Paul, MN - 55114, 651-646-2854



Only 44% of countries have made full legal commitments through international treaties to gender parity in education, according to this year's Gender Review, published by UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report. The report surveyed 189 countries to assess whether they ensured girls' and women's right to education.

"In 1990, the world committed to admitting equal numbers of boys and girls into primary school by 2005. Since then we have set ourselves a more ambitious set of gender equality targets with a deadline of 2030, but we must not forget that, despite considerable progress, one in three countries have yet to acheive the original goal," said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

The Review, produced with the support of United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), looks at the causes of slow progress towards gender equality in education, and how such issues might be addressed. Recalling countries' legal commitments to the right to education for girls and women the report focuses on three international treaties: the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

"Having a signature on an international treaty does not always guarantee strong gender equality in education. The treaties do, however, provide a possible path for governments to be held to account, and should be considered an important measure of commitment to the rights of girls and women, said Manos Antoninis, Director of the GEM Report. Governments need to adopt laws and policies that remove obstacles preventing girls from attending school and enjoying equal treatment in the classroom, according to the Review.

The Review reports that 34% of countries have not achieved parity in primary, 55% in lower secondary, and 75% in upper secondary. It highlights a wide range of measures to remove barriers to education for girls and to hold governments to account for gender inequalities. These include periodic review of curricula, textbooks, and teacher training programs; adequate school infrastructure including single sex sanitation facilities; increased representation of women in education leadership positions; stronger policies to tackle school-related gender based violence, and establishing codes of conduct for students and teachers.


Malala Yousafzai is working on education for girls around the world. This is what she says:

Worldwide, 130 million girls are out of school. At the United Nations two years ago, leaders committed to ensuring every girl receives 12 years of education by 2030, but contributions from donor countries have either stalled or declined. None of the nine biggest countries in Africa, Latin America and developing Asia have increased their education budgets. Some days are hard--but I refuse to believe the world will always be as it is. Progress is happening.

At the Malala Fund, we are investing in educators in developing countries. These advocates understand the challenges girls face in their communities--child marriage, poverty, conflicts and wars--and are best placed to develop solutions. In Afghanistan, they are recruiting female teachers to work in rural schools. In Nigeria, they are running mentorship clubs to help girls resist family pressure to drop out and marry as young as 13 years old. In Lebanon, they are developing e-learning programs to teach skills to Syrian refugee girls. I believe we can see every girl in school in my lifetime."

You can find the Malala Fund at Malala Fund


Every child has the right to an education! And yet, in many places around the world, children are deprived of this basic right to education. By advocating your U.S. legislators, you can help to ensure that the most vulnerable children, including those in emergency and conflict settings, can access their right to quality education.

Please contact Congress in support of the Protecting Girls' Access to Education Act (HR 2408/S 1580). Take action in support of legislation that encourages the U.S. Government to make education a priority for children uprooted by conflict and crisis.

Here is a letter that you can use for your elected officials:

Subject: Please Protect Access to Education for Children Uprooted

Dear Member of Congress:

I am writing to ask you to support vulnerable girls' access to education by passing Protecting Girls' Access to Education Act (HR 2408/S 1580).

The world is facing the greatest displacement crisis since World War II. Around the world, nearly 50 million children are living outside of their country of birth or are displaced within their own country. More than 25 million children between 6 and 15 years old are missing out on school in conflict zones across 22 countries, according to a recent UNICEF analysis. Refugee children and adolescents are 5 times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers.

To make matters worse, twice as many displaced girls as boys will never even start school. Despite the huge need for education in crisis situations, just 3.6 percent of global humanitarian funding was spent on education.

To help solve this problem, the Protecting Girls' Access to Education Act encourages the U.S. Government to make the education of children displaced by conflict or crisis a priority in their assistance efforts, and directs the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase the access to displaced children--especially girls--to educational, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Eduation is one of the smartest investments we can make to support child survival, growth, and development. This is why I am deeply concerned with the issue of equal access to education. I commend this bill's bipartisan effort to make education for displaced children a U.S. priority, and I urge you to vote "Yes" on HR 2408/S 1580 when it comes time for passage.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.


(Your Name and Address)

(SISTERS ONLINE thanks UNICEF for this information and letter)



Are you aware that children, who should be in school, are working in cocoa fields in
countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast in Africa? These two countries produce 60% of the world's cocoa (chocolate) supply. They lose out on their educations because they're working all day to produce the chocolate we give out on Halloween to trick and treaters. Not only are these children working, but they may or may not be paid for their labour. If they are paid, it is about $2 a day.
Some of these children may be trafficking victims from Mali or Burkina Faso. Buying Fair Trade chocolate for use on Halloween protects against these abuses.

Fair Trade certified chocolate guarantees that chocolate is labour free. It guarantees a long-term relationship with cocoa farmers who receive fair wages for their labour and as a result, can send their children to school, where they belong. Please consider giving Fair Trade chocolate on Halloween and Valentine's Day, the two biggest chocolate days in the United States.

Co-ops should offer Fair Trade chocolate as well as other Fair Trade products. Two
Fair Trade chocolate brands are Equal Exchange and Divine Chocolate. If a co-op near you doesn't offer Fair Trade, tell them they are falling short and need to order it for their store immediately.

Thanks for getting involved in education for African children. It's the right thing to do.


By the end of 2016, UNICEF will educate 4.2 million children in Syria.

28,962—Number of doctoral degrees awarded to women in 2008-09 in the U.S.—more than were given to men, for the first time.

July, 2013--Secondary schools in Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state were ordered closed after suspected Islamist extremists torched a dormitory and killed 42 people.