The Women’s World Atlas: the state of equality at a glance

RGF_FB_LK_Women World Atlas’ facts about education


Imagine a world in which women and men have equal access to quality education. Imagine how different this world would be, if all women and men enjoyed an equal opportunity to enrol in tertiary education. Just imagine the vast innovations that would result from real parity between women and men in the Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) sector. What more informed,inclusive, and sustainable world that would be! 

Mapping Parity in Education 

Sustainable Development Goal 4 seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education & promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Unquestionably, education plays a fundamental role in making societies more equitable and sustainable. Women Political Leaders and McKinsey & Company partnered to realise the 2020 Women’s World Atlas and present their results at the Reykjavík Global Forum Women Leaders in November 2020. This initiative serves to graphically illustrate the current state of parity in positions of leadership across business sectors, political sectors, and enrolment in tertiary education  including in ICT programmes. 

Of the 195 sovereign states recognised by the United Nations, 107 have achieved parity between women and men in terms of tertiary education enrollment. Don’t be fooled this picture is nowhere near complete. And yet many countries are gaining momentum. According to the 2020 Women’s World Atlas, women represent at least 30% of students enrolled in tertiary education in 41 countries,  while others fail to reach even that modest figure.

In striking contrast, the 2020 Women’s World Atlas reveals that only six countries worldwide have achieved parity between women and men in ICT programmes in tertiary education, while in 37 women represent at least 30% of those enrolled in these programmes. The world can and must do better. The Women’s World Atlas demonstrates that progress in the pursuit of equality between women and men although significant has not come close to the required rate envisioned at the signing of the Beijing Declaration more than 25 years ago.

Unite, Recover, Revitalise

Education is vital to preparing future generations to achieve needed progress and sustainability. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has drastically impacted the global ability to ensure equitable access to quality education. On this International Day of Education, the illustrations presented in the 2020 Women’s World Atlas serves as an inspiration to advance the movement toward equal access regardless of race, ehtnicity, sex, age, or location.

Women leaders in the field of education and politics drive progress towards equitable access to education. Leaders in both sectors can Power, Together to  revitalise education, in particular thanks to the learnings during the COVID-19 pandemic, to build a society with equal opportunities. build The 2021 Women’s World Atlas would like nothing better than to see more countries represented on these maps!