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World moves towards gender parity in basic education, UN says

World moves towards gender parity in basic education, UN says

The target of reaching equality in basic education for girls and boys is being met in much of the world, but girls and women still faced inequality in the labour market, in domestic violence and in vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, the United Nations expert on gender issues said today.

The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Rachel Mayanja, told the 23-member Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that girls and women were being denied decision-making roles, were being left in abject poverty and were vulnerable to being trafficked.

Educational opportunities were being equalized in many countries and probably would be nearly met by 2005, except in sub-Saharan Africa and southern and western Asia, she said at the opening of the Committee's 32nd session.

Discriminatory laws remained on the books in some countries, as did laws whose outcome was anti-female discrimination. As parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 179 countries were obliged to translate the treaty into domestic law and find practical ways to achieve gender equality, Ms. Mayanja said.

Meanwhile, until 28 January eight Governments and some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were scheduled to report to the committee and receive feedback on official steps they had taken to provide equality of opportunity to women nationals.

The eight are Algeria, Croatia, Gabon, Italy, Laos, Paraguay, Samoa and Turkey.