The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has published a policy paper on gender equality in education that warns “don’t forget the boys”.
Boys’ Education is a key men’s health issues as lower levels of education are linked to poorer health. Put another way, improving boys’ education, improves men’s health.
According to UNESCO, boys are at greater risk of failing to progress and complete their secondary education in many countires. Moreover, boys perform increasingly less well in assessments of reading skills worldwide, a fact that continues to puzzle policy-makers.
As the UN’s sustainable development goals have committed the world to achieving universal completion of secondary education by 2030, it is important to take note of boys’ continuing disadvantage in several countries at this level, says the report.
UNESCO also claims that actively addressing boys’ disadvantage in education could be transformative in promoting gender equality, reducing violence and protecting youth from risk factors that could distort their futures.
The agency’s paper describes the extent of the problem, examines where and why it occurs and explores possible solutions. It concludes that entrenched gender norms negatively affect the education outcomes not only of girls, but also of boys.
Gender expectations pull poor boys out of school and into unskilled jobs that do not require secondary school completion, say the report’s authors.