Key Resources: Education

Gender, education and learning
Adolescent girls
Barriers to girls’ education
Transformatory approaches
Organisations and websites

Gender, education, and learning

Because I Am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls – Learning for Life (2012), Khadija Fancy, London: Plan International,
(last accessed January 2014), 200 pp.

One of Plan’s excellent series of annual reports on the world’s girls, their 2012 report focuses on education, particularly as it relates to adolescent girls. Containing many case studies, the report constitutes a comprehensive survey of why, despite reaching global parity at primary school-level enrolment, completion rates for girls lag way behind those for boys. The report also looks forward to the post-Millennium Development Goal agenda, setting out recommendations for the education sector at international, national, and local level with the aim of transforming the experiences of adolescent girls at school. An executive summary and a visually inventive ‘youth summary’, for use in schools, are also available.

Girls’ Education – The Facts (2013), Education for All Global Monitoring Report Factsheet,
Paris: UNESCO,
sheet-en.pdf (last accessed January 2014), 4 pp.

This useful factsheet contains some basic statistics on the level of girls’ exclusion from education, a list
of the beneficial effects on societies if girls receive a primary education, and lists the bottom ten countries for
female education, in which no more than half of the poorest girls enter school.

World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education (2012), Edward B. Fiske, Paris: UNESCO, 
(last accessed January 2014), 117 pp.
A very useful resource, this document presents statistical information on gender equality through maps and charts,
with explanatory text. The information presented falls into the following categories: Increased worldwide demand
ofr quality schooling; Girls’ right to education; Enrolment and gender trends in primary, secondary, and
tertiary education; Trends in school-life expectancy; Gender trends in adult and youth literacy; and how policies
affect gender equality in education.

The MDGs, Girls’ Education and Gender Equality, paper prepared for UN Women in collaboration with
ECLAC Expert Group Meeting, Mexico City (21–24 October 2013), Elaine Unterhalter,
(last accessed January 2014), 8 pp.

Asking ‘Have the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] fostered progress on girls’ education’, this
excellent paper looks at the developments made since 2000, when the global community committed not only to the MDGs
(including MDG 3 – eliminating gender disparity in all levels of education by 2015), but the Education for
All Dakar Platform of Action, with its emphasis on girls’ education, making the point that given the number
of initiatives focusing on girls’ education begun at this time, it is difficult to attribute any improvement
to the MDGs alone. The author argues that progress has been made in enrolment but not completion of primary school,
and the quality of education has not been considered. Further, while the introduction of free primary education has
expanded opportunities for girls, secondary schools, where girls’ numbers are very low, are rarely free. For
the author, the suggested post-MDG goals are not sufficient for what needs to be done to address girls’ and
women’s education needs, setting the target amount of education too low and still only in terms of access,
not attendance, completion, or quality.

Gender in Primary and Secondary Education: A Handbook for Policy-makers and Other Stakeholders (2007),
Ramya Subrahmanian, London: Commonwealth Secretariat, ISBN 978-0-85092-864-8, website:

In this book the author argues that the challenge of gender mainstreaming goes beyond building schools and ensuring
access, to sustaining these gains to secure the future of education for girls. For the author, gender mainstreaming
in education needs to address the more strategic questions of the relationship between education and wider
development and change, and of the relationships between men and women in a rapidly changing world. Divided into
six chapters, the book examines key policy and theoretical gender-mainstreaming issues within education systems,
and identifies the scope for greater gender-mainstreaming efforts.

Exploring the Bias: Gender and Stereotyping in Secondary Schools (2009), Elspeth Page and Jyotsna Jha
(eds.), London: Commonwealth Secretariat, ISBN: 978-1849290074, website:

Opening with a thoughtful introductory chapter by the editors, this book – through seven case studies of
secondary schools in India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Samoa, Seychelles, and Trinidad and Tobago –
analyses the way schools can perpetuate gender stereotypes and investigates how this can be prevented. Each case
study ends with conclusions and a set of policy recommendations.

‘Gender equality and girls’ education: investigating frameworks, disjunctures and meanings of quality
education (2012), Sheila Aikman and Nitya Rao, Theory and Research in Education 10(3): 211–28
In this scholarly article, which provides some of the theoretical background to the argument put forward in the
Introduction to this issue of Gender & Development, and which draws on research from a variety of low-income
countries, the authors argue that frameworks for thinking about educational quality often result in analyses of
gender inequalities that are fragmented and incomplete. For the authors, attaining gender-equitable quality
education requires recognition and understanding of the ways in which inequalities intersect and interrelate. This
will inform the multi-faceted strategies necessary to address not only different dimensions of girls’ and
women’s lives, but understand gendered relationships and structurally entrenched inequalities between women
and men, girls and boys.

Practising Gender Equality in Education – Oxfam Programme Insights (2007), Sheila Aikman and Elaine
Unterhalter (eds.), Oxford: Oxfam GB, ISBN: 9780855985981,
(last accessed January 2014), 130 pp.

Arguing that there is a more substantive goal to aim for than gender parity (that is, the same proportion of girls
and boys entering and completing schooling), this book discusses some of the key challenges in achieving real
gender equality in education, providing examples of initiatives in a range of contexts, including gender-responsive
budgeting in education, and making recommendations for action.

Adolescent girls

Because I am a Girl: Delivering Learning for Life (2013), Elaine Unterhalter and Charlotte Nussey,
London: Plan UK and Institute of Education,
(last accessed January 2014), 16 pp.

Produced with the aim of highlighting the importance of adolescent girls
and their education for key discussions, including the post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework, which took
place during 2013, this paper discusses the invisibility of adolescent girls’ rights in global and national
education goals, targets, and indicators; outlines the barriers to a quality education for girls (making the point
that education does not automatically lead to gender equality in societies); the importance of aid flows –
where they are directed and the effect this has on girls’ education; and a critique of global policy
frameworks, particularly the Education First initiative, with its focus on achieving the MDGs, and the successor
framework to the MDGs. The paper ends with a set of recommendations for national governments, donors, those
responsible for the post-2015 framework, and Education First.

Girls’ Education, Empowerment, and Transitions to Adulthood: The Case for a Shared Agenda (2012),
Ann Warner, Anju Malhotra, and Allison McGonagle, Washington, DC: International Center for Research on Women,
(last accessed January 2014), 25 pp.

This paper argues that it is the safe, healthy transition of adolescent girls
– who in much of the developing world are underserved by the education sector – to adulthood, and their
empowerment during this process, that guarantees the improved outcomes at individual, community, and societal level
that are associated with girls’ education. The paper’s authors call for a more ‘joined-up’
approach from sectors that serve adolescent girls – from education to reproductive health to empowerment and
economic development – arguing that at present their strategies are too fragmented, not adequately linking
with the education sector, and do not reach girls at an adequate scale.
From Access to Equality: Empowering Girls Through Literacy and Secondary Education (2012), Paris: UNESCO,
(last accessed January 2014), 80 pp.

Produced for UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, this report
acknowledges that secondary education and literacy have been two relatively neglected areas for girls and women.
With a focus on these, the report provides case studies from around the world, highlighting enabling factors which
have led to success in these areas, and that have attempted to promote gender equality in education and empower
girls and women in their lives beyond education.

Barriers to girls’ education

‘Income shocks and gender gaps in education: evidence from Uganda’ (2013), Martina Björkman
Nyqvist, Journal of Development Economics, 105(November): 237–53,
(last accessed January 2014)

In this scholarly paper, the author uses variation in rainfall across districts in
Uganda to estimate the effects of a reduction in household income on children’s enrolment and academic
performance according to sex, finding that reduced rainfall has significant, and negative, effects on female
enrolment in primary school, with the effect growing stronger for older girls. The author also finds that when
schooling is free of charge and both marginal boys and girls are enrolled, a negative income shock has an adverse
effect on the test scores of female students, while boys are not affected. The results imply that households
respond to income shocks by varying the amount of schooling and resources provided to girls while boys are to a
large extent sheltered.

Providing Access to Economic Assets for Girls and Young Women in Low-and-lower Middle-income Countries: A
Systematic Review of the Evidence
(2012), Kelly Dickson and Mukdarut Bangpan, London: EPPI-Centre, Social
Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, (last
accessed January 2014), 146 pp.

This review surveys interventions providing financial incentives directly to individual girls and young women in
education, livelihood, and reproductive health programmes. Findings for education programmes were that providing
cash and funds to young women and their families can successfully improve enrolment and attendance, but evidence of
programme impact on improved learning outcomes is less clear, and the survey did not find any studies that
investigated the impact of educational incentive programmes on long-term education outcomes, such as participation
in higher education, employment, or other economic indicators, so longer-term impact of these programmes remains

Gender, WASH and Education Case Study: Enhancing Girls’ Participation in Schools in Pakistan (2011),
Madiha Shafi, Oxford: Oxfam GB,
(last accessed January 2014), 14 pp.

This case study focuses on Oxfam’s education programme in Pakistan which adopts an integrated approach to
programming to tackle the range of issues that contribute to low literacy rates and low attendance and retention of
girls in education. This work includes providing safe drinking water, separate sanitation facilities for girls and
boys, promoting key messages about good hygiene habits, as well as enabling children to be agents of
transformational change in their families and in their wider communities.

Working with Schools on Menstrual Hygiene – Module Five(2012), Sarah House, Thérèse Mahon,
and Sue Cavill, London: WaterAid,∼/media/Files/Global/MHM
(last accessed January 2014), 15 pp.

A module from WaterAid’s Menstrual Hygiene Matters: A Resource for Improving Menstrual Hygiene Around the
World, and intended to be read alongside the rest of the guide, this document is aimed at practitioners. Opening
with a list of menstrual hygiene challenges faced by girls and female teachers, and a list of Afghan
schoolgirls’ expressed wishes in relation to menstruation, the module goes on to provide practical menstrual
hygiene interventions in schools. The module is accompanied by a toolkit,
(last accessed January 2014), 15 pp.

Breaking Vows: Early and Forced Marriage and Girls’ Education (2011), Juliette Myers and Rowan Harvey,
London: Plan UK, (last
accessed January 2014), 36 pp.

This clear and accessible report from Plan UK sets out the causes and consequences of early marriage, and the role
of education – arguing that improving education and school retention for girls in the poorest countries of
the world plays a crucial role in eliminating early and forced marriage. The report ends with a summary of the role
of the UK government in ending early and forced marriage and a recommended set of actions for the UK government to

‘Religious values and beliefs and education for women in Pakistan’ (2012), Tamsin Bradley and Rubina
Saigol, Development in Practice 22(5–6): 675–88

In this paper, the authors investigate whether and how Muslim values and beliefs influence attitudes to education
for women, with leaders and members of religious organisations and some members of women’s rights and
development organisations interviewed. For the authors, documenting these views is of particular relevance for
policymakers and donors weighing up the benefits of funding secular education versus education in the madrassa
(Islamic religious school) system, in which there has been an expansion of the provision of mainstream as well as
religious education. The authors found that in order to make the education of girls palatable in a
madrassa setting, a religious and conservative curriculum was necessary – thus reinforcing the
patriarchal beliefs development practitioners seek to dismantle. However, the same trend can also be observed in
the state school system (in which 95 per cent of children are enrolled). For the authors it therefore makes more
sense to focus efforts on reforming the state school system, rather than concentrating on the education provided by
religious organisations.

Gender Violence in Schools: What is it and Why Does it Happen? (2004), Fiona Leach (ed.),

(last accessed January 2014), 2 pp.

This two-page document is a very useful distillation of the problem of gender-based violence in schools,
particularly as it affects adolescent girls, listing the kinds of form it can take. This is followed by examples of
successful strategies to combat violence against girls in what, in most places, is still a male-dominated school

A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear: Working to End Gender-based Violence at School (2013), Margaret
Eleanor Greene, Omar J. Robles, Krista Stout, and Tanja Suvilaasko, London: Plan Limited,’s_right_to_learn_without_fear.pdf (last
accessed January 2014), 16 pp.

In this very thorough report, the authors set out forms of school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) and its
causes and consequences. This is followed by a global overview of the extent of SRGBV, broken down by region;
international human rights standards as they relate to SRGBV; a set of key principles for national governments to
follow; and country-level examples from around the globe of government-led efforts to reduce girls’
vulnerabilities to SRGBV.

Stop Violence Against Girls in School: A Cross-country Analysis of Change in Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique
(2013), Jenny Parkes and Jo Heslop, Johannesburg: ActionAid International,
(last accessed January 2014), 59 pp.

This report is the culmination of a five-year research project looking into what works when challenging violence
against girls in schools. After setting out the context and methodology, the report is organised into four areas
– Girls’ experiences, attitudes, and responses to violence, gender, and inequity; Shifting attitudes,
knowledge, and practices in families and communities; Changes in schools as sites for challenging gender inequality
and violence; and Legal and policy enactments on violence against girls: from national to local. Each section
features a conclusion and pulls out key findings, which are drawn together in the final, Conclusions and
Recommendations section. The report is accompanied by a set of ‘Success Stories’ – (last accessed January 2014), 59 pp. These
outline examples of best practice in the three countries, which led to changes in attitudes and behaviours in the
target communities as well as in the girls themselves.

‘Learning to be violent: the role of the school in developing adolescent gendered behaviour’ (2003),
Fiona Leach, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 33(3): 385–400
This important paper examines the role of the school, and of peer group culture in particular, in constructing male
and female identity among adolescents, within the context of high levels of gender-based violence. The paper draws
on a study into the abuse of girls in schools Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Ghana, documenting incidents of male teachers
and older male pupils aggressively propositioning female pupils for sex, ‘sugar daddies’ preying on
schoolgirls in the vicinity of the school, and generally high levels of corporal punishment and bullying. The
abusive behaviour of boys towards girls (and also towards younger or more vulnerable boys) in school is in part the
product of a peer culture which stresses male competition and sexual prowess as part of the process of learning to
‘be a man’, while girls are expected to demonstrate obedience and tolerance. For the author, schools
and education authorities are guilty of contributing to this socialisation as long as they fail to take vigorous
measures to stamp out all forms of violent behaviour and to actively promote constructive adolescent relationships.
Lessons can be learned, however, from those few innovative programmes which provide genuine examples of the
promotion of equal gender relations, personal responsibility, respect for others, and co-operation between

The Impact of Women Teachers on Girls’ Education: Advocacy Brief (2006), Jackie Kirk, Bangkok:
UNESCO Bangkok,
(last accessed January 2014), 12 pp.

Acknowledging the importance of women teachers to increasing the enrolment of girls in school, and providing a
number of explanations for this, this briefing paper also stresses that numbers alone are not the only reason for
giving greater policy and programming attention to women teachers. Increased recruitment of women teachers must be
implemented with a wider gender-equality framework, with attention paid to gender-responsive teacher training,
women teacher-friendly schools, professional development opportunities for women, and community attitudes to
women’s roles and activities.

Women and the Teaching Profession: Exploring the Feminisation Debate (2011), Fatimah Kelleher, with
Francis O. Severin, Matselane B. Khaahloe, Meera Samson, Anuradha De, Tepora Afamasaga-Wright, and Upali M. Sedere,
London: Commonwealth Secretariat and Paris: UNESCO, ISBN: 978-84929-072-2, website: http://publications.the

In the global North, women have been in the majority in the teaching profession for many years. This study looks at
how the teacher feminisation debate applies in developing countries, in the context of the Millennium Development
Goals and Education for All, with their emphasis on boosting numbers of girls in education, and the attendant (and
instrumentalist) desire for the recruitment of more women teachers to help achieve these targets. The book includes
a valuable literature review, and draws on the experiences of Dominica, Lesotho, Samoa, Sri Lanka, and India to
provide an understanding of the role of female teachers in the expansion of education systems, and the broader
issue of gender equality.


Gender Equality Matters: Empowering Women Through Literacy Programmes, UIL Policy Brief No. 3 (2014),
Hamburg: UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning,
(last accessed January 2014), 4 pp.

This briefing paper describes measures taken in different countries to reduce gender disparities in literacy and
presents best-practice examples of literacy programmes that respond to the challenges women face in accessing
learning opportunities. One of its main conclusions is that while literacy alone does not empower women to create
and participate in change, as part of policies and programmes that promote equality in all aspects of life, it does
play a vital role in changing the lives of millions of women who have received little formal education.
Literacy and Women’s Empowerment: Stories of Success and Inspiration (2013), Janine Eldred, Hamburg:
UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning,
(last accessed January 2014), 82 pp.

Aimed at policymakers and practitioners, this research study describes promising approaches to developing literacy
and learning for women, who are the majority of the world’s non-literate adults. Case studies come from
Nepal, Indonesia, India, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Brazil, Pakistan, Turkey, Bolivia, and Senegal. Key success factors
are identified, which inform the final set of recommendations on how to achieve literacy, as part of policies and
programmes to promote gender equality.

Gender Equality and Adult Basic Education: Oxfam Programme Insights (2005), Oxford: Oxfam GB,
(last accessed January 2014), 9 pp.

Written nearly ten years ago, this paper highlights the fact that the Millennium Development Goals do not directly
address the issue of adult basic education and literacy, in spite of these being essential for achieving the
Millennium targets. It explores the potential of adult basic education with gender equality to be transformatory
for individuals, and for groups working to address key issues, such as gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. The role
of governments and other key agencies in relation to gender equality and adult basic education is also explored.
The paper concludes with a discussion of how to develop longer-term approaches to gender equality, adult basic
education, and literacy.

Transformatory approaches

Girls’ Learning: Investigating the Classroom Practices that Promote Girls’ Learning (2013),
London:Plan UK, (last accessed
January 2014), 24 pp.

Acknowledging the many social, cultural, political, and economic factors that disadvantage girls before they even
enter a classroom, this excellent and well-referenced paper addresses itself to the ‘in-school’ factors
that affect girls’ learning. These include: the presence of women teachers; the expectations and attitudes of
teachers; gendered assessment methods; and gendered teaching and learning. The report concludes by outlining the
implications for girls’ education programming, and suggesting some directions for further research.

Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria: Endline Research Summary Report (2013), Louise Wetheridge and
Andrew Mamedu, Johannesburg: ActionAid,
(last accessed January 2014), 27 pp.

Transforming Education for Girls in Tanzania: Endline Research Summary Report (2013), Louise Wetheridge
and Andrew Mamedu, Johannesburg: ActionAid,
(last accessed January 2014), 23 pp.

The Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria and Tanzania (TEGINT) project ran between 2007 and 2012 and aimed
to enable girls in Northern Tanzania and Northern Nigeria to enrol and succeed in school, by addressing challenges
and obstacles that hindered their participation in education, and increased their vulnerability to gender violence
and HIV/AIDS. The project combined interventions to improve girls’ education with a strong research
component. In these reports, the key findings from the baseline studies, carried out between 2008 and 2010,
are summarised, and changes in girls’ schooling and empowerment since the baseline research was
conducted are examined. Conclusions for each country differ. In the case of Tanzania, of particular interest, and
something stressed by the report’s author, is the very strong relationship between girls’ membership of
girls’ clubs, and higher levels of empowerment and academic performance.

Gender Equality in Teaching and Education Management: A Participatory Qualitative Research Report (2012),
Stephen Nock and Angelique Dusenge, Kigali: Pro-femmes Twese Hamwe and VSO,
(last accessed January 2014), 80 pp.

The research on which this report is based sought to discover the reasons for the gender gap in examination
performance in Rwanda, with boys outperforming girls at all levels, despite the implementation of many progressive
measures to improve education for girls in the country. Explanations were sought from students, teachers, Head
Teachers, and local education managers themselves, who also proposed ideas for reducing gender inequality and
improving girls’ performance. The report ends with a set of recommendations informed by the research

Organisations and websites

Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), St Giles Court, 24 Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AJ, UK, tel: 44
(0)1223 362648, fax: 44 (0)1223 366859, email:, website:

Founded in the UK in 1993, this non-government organisation argues
that poverty is the greatest barrier to girls in sub-Saharan Africa receiving an education. Camfed thus works to
provide the financial resources to enable girls – selected by the local community as the most disadvantaged
– to complete secondary school, and provides peer support and training post-graduation, with the aim of
maximising the value of the education the girls have received. Camfed graduates have founded their own
organisation, Cama, and provide many local services, acting as role models and leaders of change in their
communities. Camfed operates in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Centre for International Education – University of Sussex, Department of Education, School of
Education and Social Work, Essex House, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QN, UK, tel: 44 (0) 1273 877266, fax: 44
(0)1273 877534, email:, website:
The Centre was established in 1989 and focuses on education and development in the global South, with an emphasis
on education as a basic human right that lies at the centre of development that is aimed at social justice, equity,
and poverty reduction. The Centre conducts research in five areas: teachers and quality; governance; planning and
finance; access and equity; gender, identities and citizenship; and conflict and peace-building. A valuable list of
publications, derived from research undertaken in the area of Gender, Identities and Citizenship, can be found at
(last accessed January 2014).

Education for All (EFA), UNESCO, 7 place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France/1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris
Cedex 15, France, tel: 33 (0)1 45 68 10 00, email: via the website, website: -international-agenda/education-for-all/the-efa-movement

With UNESCO as the lead agency, the EFA movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all
children, youths, and adults. It began at the Wrold Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand, 1990),
which stressed education as a human right and outlined a vision of lifelong learning. Ten years later, at the World
Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, 164 governments pledged to achieve EFA and identified six goals with wide-ranging
targets to be met by 2015. The five multilateral institutions that organised the World Conference for Education for
All remain the key international stakeholders in the EFA movement: UNESCO, UNDP (UN Development Programme), UNFPA
(UN Population Fund), UNICEF, and the World Bank. UNESCO focuses its activities on five key areas: policy dialogue,
monitoring, advocacy, moblisation of funding, and capacity development. The six EFA Goals are: Goal 1 – Expand
early childhood care and education; Goal 2 – Provide free and compulsory primary education for all; Goal 3 –
Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults; Goal 4 – Increase adult literacy’; Goal 5 –
Achieve gender parity; Goal 6 – Improve the quality of education. Every year UNESCO publishes the EFA Global
Monitoring Report
, which tracks progress towards meeting the goals.

Global Education First Initiative, email: via the website, website: An initiative of the United Nations
Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and established in 2012, Education First is an attempt to generate the finance and
political will necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goal education targets by 2015. The initiative focuses
on three priorities: firstly, achieving universal primary education by 2015; secondly, improving the quality of
learning; and thirdly, fostering global citizenship, with education policies designed to foster peace, mutual
respect, and environmental awareness. The initiative works in partnership with governments, multilateral agencies,
civil society organisations, and the private sector.

Global Partnership for Education (GPE), (mailing address) c/o World Bank, MSN P6-600, 1818 H Street NW,
Washington, DC 20433, USA, (office location) 900 19th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006, USA, tel: 1 202
458 0825, fax: 1 202 522 3923, email:, website:
Consisting of developing country governments, multilateral agencies (including UNICEF, UNESCO, and the World Bank),
civil society organisations, the private sector, and private foundations, the GPE’s mission is to
‘galvanize and coordinate a global effort to deliver a good quality education to all girls and boys,
prioritizing the poorest and most vulnerable’. Girls’ education is the GPE’s second strategic
objective for 2012–2015, its aim being for all girls in GPE countries to complete primary school successfully
and go on to secondary school in a ‘safe, supportive learning environment’. The Girls’ Education
page on the website – (last accessed
January 2014) – sets out the GPE’s rationale for its focus on girls and provides links to one or two

Plan International, Finsgate, 5–7 Cranwood Street, London EC1V 9LH, UK, tel: 44 (0)20 7608 1311, fax:
44 (0)20 7253 9989, email: via website, website:,
Plan is a global non-government organisation focusing on children living in poverty. Arguing that poverty,
discrimination, lack of education, and government decisions all play a part in keeping many of the world’s
girls locked into a cycle of poverty, Plan’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign aims to support four
million girls to stay in education. According to Plan’s website, ‘Missing out on school can mark the
end of a girl having any choice over her own future.’ Plan has identified school-related gender-based
violence and early and forced marriage as key barriers to girls’ education, and has undertaken and
commissioned research and published valuable evidence and advocacy on these specific issues (available on their
websites), as well as on girls’ education more broadly. Plan also publishes its State of the World’s
Girls annual reports, focusing on a different theme each year (see above for their 2012 report on girls’

UK Gender & Development Network (UK GADN), c/o ActionAid, 33–39 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R
0BJ, UK, tel: 44 (0)203 122 0609, email:, website:
The UK GADN is a membership network consisting of UK-based non-government organisation staff, and consultants,
practitioners, and academics who work on gender and development and women’s rights issues. The network shares
learning and information and lobbies both the UK government and international bodies on issues relating to gender
and development. The network has a number of working groups, which focus on particular areas of concern. The
Girls’ Education Group was set up in 2011 to look at programming and policy for girls’ education in an
international development context. Its page on the GADN website – (last accessed January
2014) – provides updates on the Group’s work and a useful list of resources on girls’

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris
07 SP, France/1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, tel: 33 (0)1 45 68 10 00, email: via the website,
With ‘mobilizing for education’ central to UNESCO’s mandate, the organisation plays a
major global role in development and co-ordination of education initiatives and the organisation is
the lead agency for Education for All (see above). Gender equality issues are a major focus in its work
on education – see the Gender Equality in Education page, which contains many useful links, (last
accessed January 2014). In 2011, UNESCO launched its Global Partnership for Girl’s and Women’s
Education. This addresses what it considers to be two main areas needing increased attention – secondary
education and adult literacy. The partnership seeks to introduce programmes aimed at stemming the dropout of
adolescent girls in the transition from primary to secondary education and in lower secondary schools, as well as
focusing on scaling up women’s literacy programmes through stronger advocacy and partnerships. The report,
From Access to Equality: Empowering Girls Through Literacy and Secondary Education (see above) was published for
the Global Partnership in 2012.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNICEF House, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017,
USA, tel: 1 212 326 7000, fax: 1 212 887 7465, email: via the website, website:
UNICEF works to protect and promote the rights of children. As part of its mandate to work with others to
‘overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s
path’, the organisation promotes girls’ education, with the aim of ensuring that they complete primary
education as a minimum. The Basic Education and Gender Equality page on the UNICEF website – (last accessed January 2014) – contains some useful statistics, a
handy summary of barriers to girls’ education, and a link to information on UNICEF’s Child-friendly
Schools programme, in which promoting gender equality is a key component.

United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), UNGEI Secretariat, UNICEF, 3 United Nations Plaza,
Programme Division, Education Section, New York, NY 10017, USA, email:, website:
The UNGEI was launched at the World Education Forum in Dakar, in 2000 by the United Nations Secretary-General. A
partnership of organisations, it operates in various countries in the developing world, its goal being to help
national governments narrow the gender gap in primary and secondary education by 2005, and to ensure that by 2015
– the end date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – all children have completed primary
schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to all levels of education. Its work has been driven by MDG 2
– the achievement of universal primary education, and MDG 3 – the promotion of gender equality and the
empowerment of women. UNGEI’s policy advocacy agenda has been based around the following four priorities: an
enhanced focus on marginalised and excluded groups; the reduction/elimination of school-related gender-based
violence; improved learning outcomes for girls; and an increased number of girls moving on to secondary education
and accessing post-primary opportunities. The UNGEI website hosts many resources relating to gender and education,
which can be searched by theme or region.