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Hidden in the numbers: Barriers to girls’ education in West Africa

The main barriers to girls’ education are also barriers to many boys’ education.

Barriers to the remaining group of out-of-school girls of primary school age are increasingly related to additional vulnerabilities, like disabilities; unstable or poor urban living conditions, including homelessness; being on the move; and being affected by conflict or violence.

New global targets including out-of-school secondary school-aged girls make it more important to understand the local alternative costs of schooling, notably linked to a gendered labour market, early marriage and assumed claims on girls related to the religious revival in the area.

Some of the main barriers identified in this scoping study affect boys and girls differently. Gendered data is largely missing on some key groups of vulnerable children in West Africa:

- Education data on child disabilities segregated by functional domains.

- Education data from new slum areas surrounding the bigger cities in the region.

- Education data for street child populations in the region.

- Education data for domestic servants in major cities.

- Education data for conflict-affected families and children, especially people on the move, and therefore not registered in camps.

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