Papers in the “Perspectives on…” series are written to explain the relevance of a particular topic to the
international development assistance effort. Often the development process is painted in broad terms,
sometimes even in sweepingly general ones: deprivation, governance, institutions, social safety net,
infrastructure. It isn’t always clear that these broad terms encompass a multitude of narrower topics, even
though attention to narrower topics may be important in understanding the broader ones and may even provide a
means for addressing them. In this sense, development is a mosaic of elements that fit together to constitute a
whole. These papers look at the elements. None of these short papers is meant to analyze its topic, for that the
reader is encouraged to go to other sources; instead, each is meant to clarify why that topic should be of concern
to the international development practitioner.
– CSIDS –
strategies for development
Education for Girls
Poor girls in developing countries are not being educated at the rate at which
they should be according to the UNICEF 2004 annual report, The State of the
World’s Children 1 , subtitled Girls, Education and Development. Based on the
information in that report, this paper explains briefly why the education of girls is a
critical development issue. It so doing, it answers the following questions: What is
the scope of the problem? Why are boys excluded from it? Why does it exist?
What is being done to remedy it? What more should be done?
More than 100 million children worldwide do not go to school and more than
half of them are girls. Precise and reliable figures are hard to come by, but UNICEF,
relying on enrollment data when it is available and household survey data when it is
not, estimates that there are 65 million girls out of a total of 121 million children of
primary school age who do not attend school.
One might wonder,