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As stated in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948):“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

This Declaration requires all United Nations members to strive for and achieve the levels of education which satisfactorily fulfill Article 26.  

There are an estimated 101 million children not in school, the majority of which are girls. Many times, gender, socioeconomic background, location, religion, cultural traditions, and health issues keep children out of school, and these issues disproportionately affect girls’ education. 

In order to address the issue of gender inequality in access to education, United NationsICEF includes the following in its interventions: “outreach to locate excluded and at-risk girls to get them into school, policy support and technical assistance for governments and communities to improve access for those children who are hardest to reach or suffer most from discrimination, and programs to eliminate cultural, social and economic barriers to girls’ education.”