AD32: Persisting education disparities threaten to exclude women from the global knowledge economy

Bienvenue à la section des publications d’Afrobaromètre. Pour des brèves analyses d’actualité, veuillez voir nos notes informatives (pour les séries d’enquêtes 1-5) et dépêches (à partir de la Série 6). Pour des analyses plus longues et techniques, se focalisant sur des questions de politique, regardez nos documents de politique. Nos documents de travail sont des analyses approfondies destinées à la publication dans des revues académiques ou des livres. Vous pouvez aussi rechercher dans toute la base des publications à partir des mots-clés, la langue, le pays, et/ou l’auteur.

Filter content by:

Lekalake, Rorisang

Despite growing public support for gender parity, and government initiatives to promote it in some African countries, inequalities in educational attainment remain a significant obstacle to women’s empowerment. The United Nations reports notable successes in increasing primary-school enrolment rates, from 52% in 1990 to 78% in 2012 in sub-Saharan Africa and from 80% to 99% in North Africa, but girls continue to be educated at lower rates than boys – particularly at secondary and tertiary levels (United Nations, 2014).

Findings from Afrobarometer surveys in 34 African countries confirm significant gains in educational attainment, with youth reporting higher levels than their elders. But although there is broad support for gender equality in education access, women’s attainment levels are lower than men’s across all age groups.

This disparity is most notable in post-secondary education, even among young Africans, which threatens to perpetuate existing inequalities in economic and political empowerment. As countries approach universal access to primary education, the development agenda has shifted toward an emphasis on higher education’s role in national development (Bloom, Canning, Chan, & Luca, 2014). Modern economies increasingly emphasise human capital (education and knowledge/skills), reflected in government investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in developed economies.

The persisting gender gap in higher education therefore threatens to maintain African women’s marginalisation in the global knowledge economy.