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An Unfulfilled Promise: 12 Years of Education for Every Girl
Place of publication | Year of publication | Collation: 
Paris | 2021 | 8 p.
Corporate author: 
Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report Team; UNESCO
© UNESCO 2021

Just over 25 years ago in 1995, 189 governments adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – a visionary agenda for women’s empowerment and the most comprehensive global policy framework to advance gender equality to date. Girls’ and women’s education and training featured in the document as one of 12 key areas where urgent action was needed to ensure greater equality.

Since Beijing, the international community has emphasized the transformative power of girls’ and women’s education and its benefits – not only for girls and women, but for entire societies and even future generations. Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning sets ambitious targets to ensure equality of opportunity – including a target aiming to ensure that all girls and boys complete 12 years of education by 2030.

This short paper explores the evolution of girls’ and boys’ completion rates in primary and secondary education since 1995 – and calls for action to deliver on our commitments to leaving no one behind.


Resource Type: 
Conference reports and proceedings
Human rights / Human dignity
Social justice / Equity
Inclusive / Diversity
Level of education: 
Primary education
Secondary education


Girls education; Womens education; Gender equality