1. Literacy and illiteracy rates
2. Evolution of literacy rates
3. Regional and gender differences in literacy rates
Although there has been progress over the years – Africa, for instance, has seen literacy rates more than double since 1970 and some 80% of adults in the world today can read and write – almost one billion adults in the world are still illiterate. Of the 800 million adults (15 years and older) who still cannot read or write, two–thirds of them (500 million) are women. Of 650 million children of primary-school age, at least 250 million cannot read. Being illiterate is obviously detrimental to your human rights. Those who cannot read or write will find it much more difficult to know their rights and to know the ways to protect their rights.
These are some of the most recent data on literacy rates:
In South Africa, fewer than half of all pupils have access to more than 10 books at home. In Egypt, apart from school textbooks, 88% of households read no books.
Some numbers for the US, broken down by race:
The discrepancies between regions and between the sexes is striking:
70% of the illiterate are female. That’s more than half a billion women. The female population is already disproportionately affected by rights violations, and this isn’t going to help.
There’s a more descriptive post about the right to education here.