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the millennium development goals
goal 3
promote gender equality and empower women
When children come into this world they are immediately assigned a gender -- boy or girl -- and the rest of their lives gender role expectations are thrust upon them by their families, friends and society at large. Gender equality would have no meaning, if half of the world's population were granted the same opportunities and privileges as the other. Unfortunately, in rich and poor countries alike, gender inequalities exist and girls and women are frequently at a disadvantage.

In poor households in developing countries, for example, many families will send only boy children to school, because it is accepted for a girl to stay home to care for younger siblings and the household. This reality brings us to the lone target for Goal 3 - that equal numbers of girls and boys should be enrolled in primary and secondary school preferably by 2005, and that equal numbers of men and women should be enrolled in higher levels of education by 2015.
only with            
your voice
how youth are affected and involved
Uneducated young women who search for work outside of the home are at greater risk of being overworked, underpaid, physically abused, or of making a living in prostitution. Apart from being economically and educationally disadvantaged, these girls and women also lack a support system and the confidence to change their situation. Young people need to be leaders in the fight to end unjust discrimination against women. Young women can act as peer-educators to empower other girls with life skills and help build self-esteem.

But ending gender inequality is not just women's responsibility. Many boys and men support the struggle to end gender discrimination, but more need to get on board. Because women's rights are a human rights issue - every act that promotes awareness and change will benefit all of humanity.

What action would you take to fight gender inequality? Visit our Action page for ideas that suit you!

For more on Goal 3 please visit:

Millennium Campaign Youth Site

Millennium Campaign

World Bank


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what needs to be done  

Nathalie (Greece)

Consider this: two-thirds of the 880 million illiterate adults in the world are women; women are less likely to be employed than men; and only 15% of parliamentary seats and 6% of Cabinet posts are held by women.

Attitudes around women's roles must change. Gender inequalities often stem from religious or economic beliefs, which are justified based on tradition and not seen as discrimination. The world needs to start implementing and enforcing laws that protect women's rights and acknowledge the fact that gender inequality contributes to poverty. 

Furthermore, women need to have ownership of land, for which they are primarily responsible cultivating to feed their families. To increase employment rates, more opportunities for women to start their own businesses need to be created.