by Éric Charbonnier and Corinne Heckmann Innovation and Measuring Progress
There’s no denying it: when it comes to education and employment, women are on a roll, all over the world. As described in the latest issue of the OECD’s new brief series Education Indicators in Focus, the achievement gap between boys and girls has narrowed so much at lower levels of education that the focus of concern is now on the underachievement of boys. On the 2009 PISA reading assessment, for example, 15-year-old girls outperformed boys in every OECD country, on average by 39 points – the equivalent of one year of school.
Young women are also making strong progress in higher education in OECD countries. In 2000, 51% percent of women could be expected to enter a university-level programme at some point in their lives; today, the number is 66%. In fact, the proportion of women who hold a university-level qualification now equals or exceeds that of men in 29 of the 32 OECD countries for which data are comparable. This figure is below 50% only in China, Japan, Korea and Turkey.