Strategic objective B.2.
Eradicate illiteracy among women
Actions to be taken
81. By Governments, national, regional and international bodies, bilateral and multilateral donors and non-governmental organizations:
- Reduce the female illiteracy rate to at least half its 1990 level, with emphasis on rural women, migrant, refugee and internally displaced women and women with disabilities;
- Provide universal access to, and seek to ensure gender equality in the completion of, primary education for girls by the year 2000;
- Eliminate the gender gap in basic and functional literacy, as recommended in the World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien);
Beijing Declaration (1995)
One massive issue, still today and not simply in 1995, is the level of illiteracy in the world. Happily, then and now, it has been on a steady decline but still millions and millions of girls and women lack appropriate levels of literacy and even have functional illiteracy.
This becomes particularly impactful on rural women, migrant women, refugee women, and internally displaced women, and women with disabilities, as per section (a). Not only this, we can see the lack of consideration of the livelihoods of women connected to this.
Because: what will be the long-term impacts on women in the vulnerable categories listed above? It will be a higher probability of poverty, uncertainty in work and health, and likely poorer outcomes for the children.
This is not something from on high. This is decades of policies and centuries of conscious construction of societies bent towards the benefit of only a few compared to many. When this becomes questioned, we can see the violent reactions emergent in response to it.
This raises distinct answers as to the reason for the calls for universal access to primary access to all girls, but, as well, the assurance of gender equality through provisions including the provision of this education.
The call was for by 2000. I suspect this succeeded in several countries while failing in others, even in entire regions of the world. For example, with the world’s imperial powers making war and destroying nations in the MENA region as if their playthings, this can create a context of too much instability for the educational potential of girls to be fulfilled, sometimes for generations.
This comes with a caveat. Boys and men can never even complete primary education in several parts of the world. This raises questions as to the gender gap and its manifestation in still fewer girls and women, globally speaking, able to pursue their dreams because of restriction on their ability to get an education.
This gender gap emerges in basic and functional literacy gaps. This has been recommended at several points in international documents as an important targeted objective, including the abovementioned global declaration.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Preamble, Article 16, and Article 25(2).
- Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1960) in Article 1.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) in Article 3, Article 7, and Article 13.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).
- Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979).
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984).
- The Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1993).
- Beijing Declaration(1995).
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).
- Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000).
- The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa or the “Maputo Protocol” (2003).
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence or the Istanbul Convention (2011) Article 38 and Article 39.
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