Every five years, the United Nations produces a report entitled "The World’s Women" that examines a variety of topics related to gender. The 2015 report found that women are living longer, getting married later in life, and are less like to die during childbirth. But one major issue continues to persist. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women, and that ratio has changed very little in the past 20 years. According to 2015 figures, there are approximately 781 million illiterate adults (people over the age of 15) around the world, and 496 million of them are women.
A future with quality education for all:
- "Quality education" and "gender equality" are among the Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations hopes to achieve by 2030; more specific targets include improving literacy rates and erasing gender disparities in education.
- Despite the overall gender disparity in literacy rates, some progress has been made since the UN set its Millennium Development Goals in 2000. Many parts of the world have achieved universal primary education. However, there are still some 58 million children who are not in school; 31 million of them are girls, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.
- UN policy specialist Ionica Berevoescu thinks that ending illiteracy among children and young adults could be achieved by 2030, but implementing more adult education programs will be necessary to help older people. Globally, 30% of women and 19% of men over the age of 65 are illiterate.