MDG3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

girls worldwide say "empowering girls will change our world"

The aim is to remove gender difference in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and at all levels by 2015.

There are four points that are used to measure progress towards the goal:

  • The ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
  • The ratio of literate women to men in the 15 to 24-year-old age group
  • The share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
  • The proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments

Are targets being met?

  • Almost 60 per cent of the 128 countries with data in UNESCO’s Education For All Global Monitoring Report appear unlikely to achieve gender equality in both primary and secondary education, based on past trends.
  • Of the 113 countries that failed to achieve gender difference in both primary and secondary school enrolment by the target date of 2005, only 18 are likely to achieve the goal by 2015.
  • Southern Asia has made the most progress in gender equality since 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Asia and Northern Africa have also made strides in reducing gender inequality. At the same time, Oceania (the islands of the Pacific and adjacent seas) has taken a step back with a slight deterioration in gender equality in primary school enrolment. Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia have the largest gender gaps in primary enrolment

Did you know?

  • Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, and yet earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income and own less than 1 per cent of the world’s property.
  • Of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty around the world, 70 per cent of them are women. In the least developed countries nearly twice as many women over age 15 are illiterate compared to men.
  • In the WAGGGS’ Adolescent Health Global Survey, 82 per cent of girls surveyed feel under pressure to look and dress in a certain way. Thirty six percent of girls began caring about how they looked before the age of 12 years old.
  • In its publication, the State of the World’s Children, UNICEF has identified that involvement in girls’ organizations over extended periods has been identified as having a positive impact on girls’ civic participation and counteracting societal pressures, which can undermine self-esteem and self-confidence.

Position Statements

WAGGGS has published several position statements on issues that are relevant to girls and young women worldwide. The statements contain information on what WAGGGS has to say about the topic, background facts and case studies. WAGGGS’ Member Organizations can find them on the Members’ Area of WAGGGS’ website or you can request them from

Your comments

No comments yet... Why not be the first?

Have your say

Post your comments about this page here. For general questions, go to Contact. When posting comments, please be considerate of others and refrain from abusive or off topic posts. Comments will only be uploaded if they are considered appropriate. Email addresses or any other personal details will not be allowed. HTML code will be removed from comments; linebreaks will be kept intact.

Type the characters you see in the image above