The Millennium Declaration, issued in the year 2000, committed the nations of the world to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, as part of a set of wide-ranging measures to halve the incidence of poverty over the first 15 years of the new century. The commitments made to tackle gender inequality in education are specific and time-bound, and appear to provide a clear agenda for action and policy change. In this chapter, I first examine the process by which these gender goals became established. I then attempt to disentangle the meanings, and the theoretical underpinning of their various formulations. In the final section, I assess the feasibility of their attainment and the actual/potential roles of the international community in this process

The basis for a global commitment to gender equality in education has been built in some detail over the past 35 years. This has had two ‘arms’. First, a series of international human rights treaties has been adopted and ratified by the great majority of countries, which requires states to make education universally available, and to pursue educational policies that do not discriminate on the grounds of gender.2