Girls’ education, the key to advancing gender equality

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IN tenth anniversary of the International Day of the Girlwhich will be observed on 11 October 2022, the United Nations recalls that the world is not on track to achieve the 2030 goal. Sustainable Development Goal 5which advocates for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

In his last report Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: a snapshot of gender equality 2022, This is what the international organization appreciates At the current rate of progress, full gender equality may not be achieved for another 300 years!

The study presents the latest evidence for gender equality in the 17 Sustainable Development Goalswhich, together with the Agenda for Sustainable Development, were adopted by the UN member states in 2015 with the aim of achieving them in 2030.

The report estimates that this will take approx 286 years of abolishing discriminatory gender laws140 years for equal representation of women in positions of power and leadership in the workplace and at least 40 years of achieving equal representation in national parliaments.

To break this trend, it is crucial that women and girls around the world get an education it truly prepares them for the future where they can develop their autonomy, equality, voice and empowerment,” said Sima Bachos, UN Women’s executive director, in a statement.

And that’s it each additional year of education for girls can increase their earnings as adults by up to 20% and would also have an impact on reducing poverty, improving maternal health, reducing child mortality, improving AIDS prevention and reducing violence against women, the UN study said.

When educated, girls are more likely to lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives. When supported to realize their human rights, girls can fulfill their potential and create a better world for themselves, their communities and societies,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement marking the International Day of the Girl.

The UN report adds to this cooperation, investments that contribute to reducing gender inequality and increased global and national funding for ensure girls’ educationare crucial to “getting gender equality back on track”.

Girls are the majority with higher education

In case of International Day of the Girlanother report was published showing how gender equality is established, in this case at university: second edition of the study U-Multirank Gender Monitor 2022 reveals that globally the number of women studying for a university degree exceeds that of men: in Spain 56% of students are women and globally 54%.

In Spain, 56% of university students are women. Image: Freepik

The survey produced by U-Multirank, the ranking international university promoted by the European Commission shows that although The percentage of girls who complete a university education is higher than that of boys, and this percentage decreases as their academic career progresses.

So in Spainwomen report 49% in Ph.Don 43% of teaching and research faculty (PDI)on 25% of female professors and on 23% of rectorsaccording to him CYD ranking.

Worldwideon 54% of students enrolled at the university are womenbut its presence decreases in PhD students (47%), teaching staff (44.5%) and department (29%). In addition, only 20% of universities have a woman as chancellor or vice president, according to the U-Multirank survey.

In the next graphic you can see how women progress in their academic careers in universities compared to men, both nationally and globally,

The gender gap in STEM studies persists

According to global data from U-Multirank Gender Monitor 2022on women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields: In Spain, 36% of students studying these disciplines are women.

Nursing, Education, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Medicineby the way, they still are degrees associated more with women. In contrast, engineering and computer science degrees are male-dominated fields of study.

In Spain, in STEM-related fields of knowledgeon the majors of biology (62%), chemistry (55%) and architecture (50%) are those with the most female students, while the presence of women is weaker in computer engineering (14%), mechanical engineering (17%) and electrical engineering (19%). On the contrary, in nursing, education and social work degrees, women predominate by a large majority.

In this regard, the Rector of the Polytechnic University of CartagenaBeatriz Miguel, emphasized the importance of reinforce at an early age that women are attracted to engineering-related disciplines. “At the school stage, if a girl wants to be an engineer and is not very sure, without support from her teachers and her family, she will probably reject the idea,” she pointed out during CYD discussion on the supply and demand of technology talentorganized by the CYD Foundation.

In this same event, Isabel Fernández, Rector of Alfonso X El Sabio Universitynoted this that reinforcement can come through the example of other women: “We need to create a safe, trusting environment where girls can learn in schools the testimonies of female engineers who are satisfied with their professions.”

How to get girls committed to STEM studies

According to the international organization, gender norms and stereotypes embedded in curricula, textbooks and teaching and learning practices influence girls’ choices about what to study and ultimately their careers and future work. Thus, to promote gender equality and get more girls engaged in STEM studies, it is key to educate them about gender equality from the classroom and also from families.

How to get girls committed to STEM studies

The UN advocates for the inclusion of influential women in girls’ education to serve as role models. Image: Freepik

Likewise, the report suggests that the following actions be taken so that girls have the same educational opportunities as boys and feel motivated and capable of doing science and technology research:

  • Sharing stories of girls exercising their leadership power to change gender inequality, whether through blogs, social media videos, etc.
  • Engage governments and policymakers to make more targeted investments that address the inequalities girls faceespecially to access mental health and psychosocial support services to help them cope with conflict, forced migration or the effects of climate change.
  • Involve influential women in girls’ education in all sectors so that they become role models for them.
  • Increase the engagement of all people to raise awareness of the factors that prevent girls from continuing their education.

If you want to contribute to the advancement of equal opportunities for girls, studying a BA or MA in Gender Equality will enable you to dedicate yourself professionally to this. Learn about existing gender studies opportunities and their career opportunities in this Educaweb report.

Did you know…?

  • The The International Day of the Girl is celebrated every year to raise awareness of the plight of girls around the worldrecognize their rights and the unique challenges they face, especially in developing countries, and promote their empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
  • There are more than 600 million adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19the highest number in history, according to UNICEF.
  • Worldwide, the proportion of women graduating in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is less than 15% in more than two-thirds of countriesaccording to UN data.
  • The expansion of higher education in recent years has particularly benefited women in all OECD countries. For the 25- to 34-year-old age group, the proportion of women who reach a tertiary level of education is higher than that of men in all countries analyzed by the report Review of Education of the OECD. According to data from this report, In Spain, 60.5% of young people with higher education are womenwhich is also higher than the OECD (56.6%) and EU22 (57.7%) averages.

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