Building peace in the minds of men and women

Atlas of Girls' and Women’s Right to Education

Methodology and Sources

UNESCO has collected and analyzed constitutions, laws, regulations, circulars and decrees available online in national legal frameworks for the purpose of developing an Interactive Atlas on the status of girls’ and women’s right to education around the world. Twelve indicators were identified for the first phase of the project that demonstrate the factors that have been shown to either strengthen or act as a barrier to the right to education of girls and women.

Why these indicators?

Specific indicators were selected that could measure to what extent legal and regulatory provisions exist in the national framework that either protect or hinder the right to education of girls and women. The indicators have been divided into three categories:

  1. The first purple category corresponds to the indicators on the ratification of international human rights instruments related to girls’ and women’s right to education.
  2. The second blue category corresponds to the indicators on the right to education that are not specifically gender-related but have a direct impact on girls and women’s education. In fact, legal provisions that guarantee free or compulsory education at different stages for everyone can overcome financial or cultural barriers, which affect girls disproportionately, especially in regions where there is a large gender disparity in education.
  3. The final orange category corresponds to indicators showing a clear connection to gender. Even if some of them are not always explicitly linked to education, they constitute important barriers to the right to education.

Relevance of each indicator with regard to girls' and women's education

Party to UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE)

CADE is the first legally binding instrument covering the right to education comprehensively and has been recognised as a cornerstone of Education 2030 (UNESCO, “Decision adopted by the Executive Board at its 197th session”, 2015, Doc: 197 EX/Decision). CADE prohibits discrimination in all forms, including by gender, and addresses discrimination both in access to and quality of education.


Party to UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

CEDAW is the most specific and substantive treaty with regard to the rights of women, defining the normative content and legal obligations of states towards gender equality including in education.


  • CEDAW Convention
  • General recommendations 28 (paras. 3, 13, 21 and 36), 25 and 36.

Constitution enshrines the right to education for all girls and women

Constitutional protection provides the possibility, when supplemented by judicial measures, for the highest domestic court to adjudicate on potential violations regarding the right to education. By offering constitutional protection, a more lasting protection is given than that of legislations, which are subject to political changes.


  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 13, para. 34.
  • CEDAW General Comment No 36 para. 24.
  • CADE Art.1 and 6.