Global literacy rates are rising but women still lagging behind
Despite the lag, women are making the strongest gains
According to new data released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, literacy rates for adults and youth continue to rise. Young women aged 15-24 are making the strongest gains, but still lag behind young men. In 2010, 87% of female youth had basic literacy skills, compared to 92% of males. Overall, more than half of countries with data have youth literacy rates of 95% or higher.
Despite these gains, 775 million adults (15 years and older) still cannot read or write – two-thirds of them (497 million) are women. Among youth, 122 million are illiterate of which 74 million are female. Even though the size of the global illiterate population is shrinking, the female proportion has remained virtually steady at 63% to 64%.
New interactive map illustrates disparities between adults and youth
To illustrate the disparities in adult and youth literacy rates, the UIS has created a data visualization with data from 150 countries and territories, including literacy rates by sex and the correlation with national wealth.