A New Decade of Female Empowerment

100 Years to Gender Parity

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end illiteracy for all by 2030. That’s just over 10 years! I can therefore reveal that we have some serious work to do if we want to reach that ambitious goal.

At the present rate of change, it will take 250 years to close the gender wage gap. Too many women are occupied with unpaid jobs often at home and many received unequal pay. It will take 95 years to close the political gap allowing more women into governmental bodies which proves to be important to enact laws benefitting women in society. Last, but not least, it will take 12 years to close the educational gap allowing all girls to go to school.

Nearly two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women, a proportion that has remained stubbornly unchanged for the past 20 years. Of the 781 million adults over the age of 15 estimated to be illiterate, 496 million were women according to UN Women. 262 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were still out of school in 2017, and more than half of children and adolescents are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics.

The good news though is that while only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820, today the share has reversed: only 14% of the world population, in 2016, remained illiterate according to OECD.

What can be done? The 2019 Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer have a lot of the answers thanks to their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

Watch the Ted Talk with Ester Duplo:


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