Gender-Equal Education Is About More Than Access

Policymakers, education activists, and others who are worried about girls being left behind must look beyond school access. As many have philosophized before, there are many factors that go into students’ success in education. Education can transform a girl or boy’s life, but is it open to boys and girls equally? There is gender inequality in education all over the globe. Latin America and the Caribbean have the most gender inequality and violence that affects millions of children. Some of the factors that people in these areas are overcoming include poverty, patriarchal values and low investment into education for females. 

Latin America

Educational gender equality in Latin America seems to vary. For example, Mexico and Peru have closed the gender gap, while it persists in Guatemala and Belize. The challenges that are faced in Latin America in providing education to girls and boys boils down to poverty, and patriarchal family values.

Specifically for girls, they need education on menstrual health and hygiene. Sometimes this means that facilities need to provide a designated clean area where girls can take care of their needs. It also means girls need education and access to birth control. Poverty causes interrupted education. The Patriarchal values cause girls to be seen as something that can be exploited. Girls are often married off as children or left to take care of many siblings at home. 

The investment aspect in Latin America is unique. As families struggle to pay for an education for all of their children. Boys are invested in over girls every time by their own families, because the boys are seen as the breadwinners of their families. 

The Caribbean 

Education in the Caribbean has been known to work ardently to close the gender equality gap, and have made progress. Even in seemingly progressive areas, there is still work to be done. There are some areas that need to change in order to get women in schools. 

The barriers in Latin America are similar to those in the Caribbean. The world bank works to invest in women by providing grants and other scholarships to get behind women and invest in the future of their education. They also work to provide the digital technologies that make women able to attend school and manage their life at the same time. These investments into female education have already proven valuable in some areas, and continue to change the landscape of the Caribbean. 

The main barriers people face in the Caribbean involve poverty. Even if women do get an education they are still met with pay gaps, minimal parental support, and insufficient protection from violence and harassment. The world is trying to step up and minimize these sufferings, but as developed countries begin to struggle the resources are stretched thin. 

What Now?

Programs educating adults in these areas should prepare to address common learning gaps and provide an affordable program that doesn’t have too many requirements for students wanting to learn. These programs should also be prepared to identify these learning gaps and be efficient about ways to close those gaps. 

The internet and tech have reinspired learning a skill set rather than getting a well rounded education at an expensive university. Programs for adults could spend some time working with students who normally wouldn’t be invested in. 

Countries would benefit from closing the gender gap and educating the women that make up Latin America and The Caribbean. While women have access, society’s values and poverty hold women at home taking care of children unable to provide or add to their countries value. Adults across the globe fight to create equitable experiences for all. 

Sources : 

UNICEF. 2019. “Gender Equality.” 2019.

‌Roberts, Elise. 2012. “The Educational Gender Gap in Latin America: Why Some Girls Do Not Attend School.” Clocks and Clouds 2 (1).

“The Time Is Now for Gender Equality in the Caribbean.” 2018. World Bank. March 8, 2018.

Burunciuc, Lilia, and Ximena de Carpio. 2022. “Empowering Women and Girls in the Caribbean for Long-Lasting Change.” World Bank. March 8, 2022.

Turner-Jones, Therese. 2020. “The Hard Facts about Gender Equality in the Caribbean.” Caribbean Development Trends. March 13, 2020.

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