Gender and schooling in Asia

Prospects and challenges

Authored by: Anita Kit-wa Chan

Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138908499
eBook ISBN: 9781315694382
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the past few decades, Asia as a region has been characterized by rapid social, economic and demographic changes. In particular, the schooling and educational development of young girls in most Asian countries have undergone substantial improvement. For example, in 2016, more girls than boys were enrolled in primary education in South Asia (UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, 2016). The World Economic Forum (2016) projects that South Asia may close the gender gap in education in as little as 46 years – much faster than Western Europe (61 years), Latin America (72 years), Sub-Saharan Africa (79 years) or the Middle East and North Africa (129 years). The improvement in South Asia is partially linked to national initiatives, as more governments have begun to view improved education and literacy as keys to achieving economic development. Some impetus has also come from global concerns. From Education for All (1990) to the Millennium Development Goals (2000), the international community – including some private donors 1 – has been active in launching initiatives and aid programs to promote access to quality education in developing countries, and gender equality in education has become an imperative.

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