United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women CEDAW/C/GC/36 Distr.: General 27 November 2017 Original: English Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women General recommendation No. 36 (2017) on the right of girls and women to education I. Introduction 1. Education plays a pivotal, transformative and empowering role in promoting human rights values and is recognized as the pathway to gender equality and the empowerment of women. 1 It is also an essential tool for personal development and for the development of an empowered workforce and citizenry that can contribute to civic responsibility and national development. In the United Nations Millen nium Declaration, the General Assembly resolved to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere would be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and that girls and boys would have equal access to all levels of education (resolution 55/2). 2. Despite important progress, that goal was not achieved. The education of girls and women is considered to be one of the most effective investments for sustainable and inclusive development; however, in 2012, 32 million girls of primary school age around the world were out of school, representing 53 per cent of all out -of-school children, as were 31.6 million adolescent girls (50.2 per cent) of lower secondary school age. 2 Even where educational opportunities are available, inequalities persist, preventing women and girls from fully taking advantage of such opportunities. In September 2013, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported 3 that 773.5 million adults (15 years of age or older) worldwide were illiterate, and 61.3 per cent of them were women, while among youth (15 to 24 years of age) 125.2 million were illiterate, with women and girls representing 61.3 per cent of that population. Girls and women are disproportionately discriminated against during the schooling process in terms of access, retention, completion, treatment and learning outcomes, as well as in career choices, resulting in disadvantage beyond schooling and the school environment. __________________ 1 2 3 17-19774 (E) Azza Karam, “Education as the pathway towards gender equality”, UN Chronicle, vol. L, No. 4 (2013). UNESCO Institute for Statistics and United Nations Children’s Fund, Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children (2015). UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Adult and youth literacy fact sheet No. 26, September 2013. Available from http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs26-adult-and-youth-literacy2013-en_1.pdf. 220118 *1719774*

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