The gender gap in literacy rate is declining for all regions. However, while Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, and East Asia and Pacific have nearly closed this gap, other regions are far behind. South Asia has the largest gender gap (17 percentage points) with an adult male literacy rate of 79 percent, and adult female literacy rate of 62 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa lag only marginally behind with a gender gap of 15 percentage points and 14 percentage points, respectively. However, Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest level of adult female literacy at 57 percent.
Achieving gender parity in literacy is critical for women to effectively compete in the labor market and in turn help lift communities out of poverty. Find more information related to trends in gender and education on the World Development Indicators website.