The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics


Chapter 3 - Education

Key findings

Two thirds of the 774 million adult illiterates worldwide are women – the same proportion for the past 20 years and across most regions.
The global youth literacy rate has increased to 89 per cent, while the gender gap has declined to 5 percentage points.
Gaps between girls’ and boys’ primary enrolment have closed in the majority of countries, but gender parity is still a distant goal for some.
72 million children of primary school age are not attending school, out of which over 39 million (or 54 per cent) are girls.
While secondary school enrolments show improvement, fewer countries are near gender parity than for primary education.
In tertiary enrolment, men’s dominance has been reversed globally and gender disparities favour women, except in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern and Western Asia.
Women in tertiary education are significantly underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering; however, they remain predominant in education, health and welfare, social sciences, and humanities and arts.
Worldwide, women account for slightly more than a quarter of all scientific researchers – an increase compared to previous decades but still very far from parity.
Use of and access to the Internet grew exponentially in the past decade, narrowing the gender digital divide – however, women still do not have the same level of access as men in most countries, whether more or less developed.

Download chapter 3

Full text (pdf)
English*: Color (1.44 MB), B/W (569 KB)

Statistical Annex:
Table 3.A to 3.B Excel (156 KB), Pdf (136 KB)

Download full report (pdf)

English*: Color (7.61 MB), B/W (7.7 KB)

*For printing on a non-color printer, use B/W file for better results.

Selected visual statistics (Click on the graph to enlarge)

Source: Macro International, MEASURE DHS STATcompiler (2009).

Source: International Obesity Task Force, Global Prevalence of Adult Obesity (2009).