[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Tuesday renewed calls [press release] for womens and girls to be given equal access to education. A discussion panel held by OHCHR said equal educational rights is way to end discrimination against women that is “so deeply etched in many societies.” The panel said gender discrimination has manifested itself in the forms of sexual violence, abductions and harassment, as well as higher rates of unemployment and unequal pay. The discussion highlighted the thousands of attacks on schools [JURIST report] that took place in at least 70 different countries between the years of 2009 and 2014, many of which were aimed at advocates for girls’ educational rights. Through equal education, OHCHR contends that women will be able to utilize their learned skills to circumvent the so-called “ceiling” that often prevents them from achieving similar status to their male counterparts.
Despite international efforts to educate communities [JURIST op-ed] and protect women’s rights to be free from discrimination, women worldwide still face inequality that is frequently due to a lack of governmental support. In April the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the government of Afghanistan [JURIST report] to provide women protection against domestic violence within the state. Also in April Amnesty International reported that Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls [JURIST report] since the start of 2014, subjecting some to forced-marriage.The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women also urged [JURIST report] Tanzania to enforce its international obligations to prevent discrimination against women, after two women brought suit arguing that customary laws enforced in their communities contravened Tanzania’s constitution and its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. In March the UN warned [JURIST report] that the progress made in achieving women’s rights remains under continuous threat, as “no country in the world has achieved full substantive equality of women.” In February the UN reported that in at least 70 countries, women and girls have been attacked for seeking education [JURIST report], which is seen as a challenge to existing gender-based systems of oppression. Also that month the UN reported attacks [JURIST report] on young girls for seeking an education in at least 70 countries.