Primary Goods, Capabilities, and the millennium development target for gender equity in education (2002)

Most of the estimated 855 million people in the world (one sixth of the population) without access to schooling are women and girls. Two thirds of the 110 million school age children not in school are girls (UNGEI, 2002). This injustice has been a focus of attempts at coordinated international policy interventions since the 1990s, sometimes loosely referred to as the Education for All (EFA) movement. The first of the millennium development targets - gender equity in education - is supposed to be reached by 2005, but it is widely acknowledged that it will be missed. A number of different social theories underpin the EFA policies. By the late 1990s a widespread consensus was emerging that the concept of rights provided a fruitful theoretical, political and policy way forward on this issues. Policy documents and declarations took on a language of rights, which supplanted earlier ideas of basic needs and gender interests. In these documents rights appeared isomorphic with the more philosophically developed versions of basic needs and gender interests in the work on capabilities undertaken by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum
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