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MDG 2015

Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

In both rich and poor countries, gender discrimination persists, and its consequences are difficult to ignore. Nowhere is this more apparent than in some developing countries, where traditional beliefs and practices put a high premium on boys’ education, while girls are excluded. Even when girls start school, they are more likely to drop out for these reasons. Without at least a complete primary education, women face limited employment options, discrimination, lower pay, and less control over their health and well-being.

Goal 3 calls on countries to ensure that girls have equal access to education by 2015. Doing so will contribute to overall country growth and development advances.

Educated girls have many more choices and opportunities for employment, and they have the knowledge and capabilities to access information that positively affects them and their families. What’s more, they are more empowered to shape their country’s political, social, economic and environmental progress.


  • Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and to all levels of education no later than 2015.

Useful links

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
UNIFEM provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies that promote women's human rights, political participation and economic security.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
CEDAW, often described as an international bill of rights for women, defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets an agenda for action to end such acts.

United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)
UNFPA works with governments and NGOs to support programmes that help with family planning, pregnancy, birth, avoiding STDs and HIV/AIDS, and combating violence against women.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
UNESCO's Women and Gender Equality programme coordinates projects and policy regarding the empowerment of women and gender equality.

CAW: Commission on the Advancement of Women
InterAction: American Council for Voluntary International Action Gender Equality and Diversity

InterAction works to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all. CAW promotes gender equity in the policy and practice of InterAction members.