6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where are we?

Girl in school

Equal opportunities in education 

Achieving parity in education is an important step toward equal opportunity for men and women in the social, political and economic domains. And Latin America and the Caribbean, as a whole, is performing well. In the developing world, girls face greater barriers at the secondary level of education than at the primary level. But in Latin America and the Caribbean, enrolment rates in secondary school were actually higher for girls than for boys, with a Gender Parity Index (GPI) of 108.

In tertiary education, the GPI of 98, reached in 2010 for the developing world, constitutes achievement of parity. This attainment was led by very high parity values in Latin America and the Caribbean, in addition to other regions.

Women in politics

While trends point to an increase in women’s parliamentary representation, the rate of representation remains low overall, and progress is spread unevenly. The highest level is found in the Nordic countries, especially following recent gains in Denmark and Finland. Among developing regions, Latin America and the Caribbean ranks the highest, with a 23 per cent average. It is Latin America that had the country with the greatest progress in 2011: Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan party that won a significant majority of seats (62 out of 90) had a voluntary party quota for women of 30 per cent. In the 2011 elections, more than 50 per cent of its seats were won by women—an indication that political parties play a role in supporting and encouraging women to run.

Employees in non-agricultural wage employment who are women

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament