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World atlas of gender equality in education

Fiske, E. B. World atlas of gender equality in education. UNESCO, Paris, 2012. ISBN: 978-92-3-104232-4. Pages: 118.

To mark International Women’s Day 2012 (8 March), UNESCO and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) have jointly released this publication, which includes over 120 maps, charts and tables featuring a wide range of sex-disaggregated indicators. The atlas enables readers to visualise the educational pathways of girls and boys in terms of access, participation and progression from primary to tertiary education.

The presentation of data and analysis calls attention to persistent gender disparities and the need for greater focus on girls’ education as a human right. It also illustrates the extent to which gender disparities in education have changed since 1970 and are shaped by factors such as national wealth, geographic location, investment in education and fields of study.

The principal results related to higher education show that total enrolment at the tertiary level soared from 32 million students in 1970 to 165 million in 2009 – an increase of around 500 percent. The most dramatic gains have been recorded in regions that had the lowest levels of enrolment in 1970 and which continue to record modest enrolment levels to this day (sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab countries). The majority of tertiary students are women in two-thirds of countries with available data. However, men continue to dominate the highest levels of study, accounting for 56% of PhD graduates and 71% of researchers.

The print edition of the atlas will be accompanied by an online data mapping tool that enables users to track trends over time, adapt maps and export data. This eAtlas will be regularly updated with the latest available information from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.