New CEDAW Recommendations Focus on Education for Women and Girls as a Human Right

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has released a preliminary recommendation #36 in regard to the rights of girls and women to education. They point out that although the Millennium Development Goals called for all children to “complete a full course of primary schooling,” with girls having equal opportunity to achieve this, by 2015. Although education is considered one of the most effective tools for sustainable and inclusive development, the Goal for universal education was not achieved.

This situation led to the inclusion of Goal 4 Quality Education for All in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. “Two critical education targets to be met are to: (a) ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes; and, (b) eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.”

“The Education 2030 Framework for Action, acknowledges that ‘gender equality is inextricably linked to the right to education for all’ and that achieving this ‘requires a rights-based approach. This approach ensures that both female and male learners not only gain access to and complete education cycles, but are empowered equally in and through education’.”

The Committee points out, however, “certain factors disproportionately prevent girls and women from claiming and enjoying their basic human right to education. These factors include: barriers to access for disadvantaged and marginalised girls and women exacerbated by poverty and economic crises, gender stereotyping in curricula, textbooks and teaching processes, violence against girls and women in and out of school and structural and ideological restrictions to their engagement in male dominated academic and vocational fields.”

The focus of the Recommendations is on three dimensions: The first is the right of access to education. The second, rights within education and, the third, rights through education. This tripartite framework largely reflects the rights elaborated in the 4As framework of accessibility, availability, affordability and adaptability.

To read the entire report, click here.

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