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Ranked: Countries by Growth in Female Students Enrolled in Higher Education

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The world celebrates International Students Day on November 17th each year.

These are the countries with the largest change in female students enrolled in higher education over the last ten years (2006-2016). The first list shows the countries with the largest positive growth percentage and the second list shows the countries with the largest negative growth percentage.

Countries with the largest positive percentage growth in Female Students Enrolled in Higher Education

Geography 2006 - 2016 % 2006 - 2016 Absolute
Ethiopia 600.4 262,400
Mozambique 590.7 63,600
Congo-Brazzaville 571.3 18,200
Kenya 541.7 253,500
Angola 539.9 105,700
Chad 537.9 7,000
Afghanistan 522.8 65,100
Ghana 391.9 145,400
Botswana 341.4 29,500
Guinea 333.4 30,400
Nepal 322.7 195,800


It should be noted that since this is a percentage growth ranking, these countries seeing very strong growth are generally starting from a low base and/or seeing strong population growth. That said, these countries are making progress to eliminate gender disparity in education in line with the UN Global Goals. Education is one of the strongest tools for alleviating poverty and education and empowering women are two of the criteria upon which Euromonitor selects its CSR partners around the world.

Countries with the largest negative percentage growth in Female Students Enrolled in Higher Education

Geography 2006 - 2016 % 2006 - 2016 Absolute
Cuba -64.8 -268,600
Ukraine -41.4 -614,500
Russia -40.3 -2,102,200
Latvia -40.0 -33,200
Kazakhstan -38.0 -208,000
Hungary -37.1 -95,100
Romania -37.0 -171,000
Lithuania -36.2 -43,100
British Virgin Islands -35.5 -300
Slovenia -32.8 -22,000
Moldova -31.9 -26,300


Eastern Europe dominates this list largely due to population trends as the region is experiencing falling numbers of people in the most relevant age groups. Net migration, falling fertility rates and students who go abroad for school all factor into this trend.

The data also shows that countries where women tend to marry younger are seeing the strongest growth of female students in higher education. This shows promise for future income potential for these students and overall economic growth in these countries as these women graduate, tend to delay marriage and begin to participate in the labor force.

Source: Euromonitor Passport Analytics

Note: Data includes statistics from 2008-2018 historical and forecast

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