The Global State of Literacy
Southern Asia is home to almost half of the global low literacy population (49%). In addition, 27% of all adults with low literacy skills live in sub-Saharan Africa, 10% in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, 9% in Northern Africa and Western Asia, and about 4% in Latin America and the Caribbean.2
Women in Literacy
More than half of all poor rural women in developing countries lack basic literacy skills.
Girls who complete primary education are less likely to become teen mothers. Nearly 200,000 maternal deaths could be avoided if all girls completed primary education.
Women comprise, on average, 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and are key for food security and nutrition.
The Digital Divide
Nearly 87% of people had access to the internet in developed countries in 2019, compared with 47% in developing countries.6
Gender disparities in the digital divide disproportionately affect women and girls. According to a 2018 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,
327 million fewer women than men worldwide have a smartphone and can access the mobile internet.7
Impact of the Pandemic
In 2016, about 263 million children, adolescents, and youth around the world were out of school.8
The number of children being left behind has grown exponentially due to the impact of the 2020 pandemic. UNESCO recently released a report that estimates that as a result of COVID-19, there are now 290 million students (children and youth) out of school.