September 16, 2019
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 In Access to Education for Women and Girls

Country: France
Delegate Name: Audrey Krajewski

UN Women
Education for Women and Girls
France
Audrey Krajewski

Education is the foundation for a successful, happy, and healthy life. France believes women worldwide deserve the right to education, and supports the United Nations claims behind educating women providing benefits such as child marriage rates declining, child mortality rates falling, maternal moraility rates falling, lifetime earnings of girls increasing, etc. France has had a complex history with educating its own women, but has since found a very successful way out. France hopes to share its knowledge with countries hoping to overcome education injustice.
France didn’t start educating women until the 1870s. Shockingly recent. When France first began educating women, they educated women in a separate school from men. Women had the opportunity to learn reading and writing skills, in addition to basic arithmetic. Men however, had the opportunity to learn history, science, music, and everything women learned. The original purpose of educating women was so they could become better mothers and “help their boys work on assignments”. Additionally, there was hardly any opportunity for women to gain education beyond the elementary/middle schooling they went through to learn those basic skills. The first female university student attended in 1892, and the first female professor at a French university didn’t gain her job until 1930. Since then however, France has achieved education equality. Women now fill 54% of college classes (as opposed to men filling 46%) , and 92% of women in France have a high school diploma, compared to 82.3% of their male equivalents. Women make up 25% of STEM fields, with the percentage growing annually. Women are proud to be educated, and contribute to the 99.7% literacy rate in France, and France’s rank in the top 16.5% of smartest countries worldwide.
France credits their education system for this mass success. In France, 50% of children begin their kindergarten level education at age 2, and all children by age 3. French children can choose the public or private school route, with private schools often being for religious intents only. In France, citizens pay high taxes and expect high benefits and results. The French public school system is generally inflexible, and provides an intensive 900 hours worth of education to its students annually. The French government mandates a curriculum that all schools in France must follow as closely as possible. As a result, students in the north of France, the south, Paris, are all learning the same material and benefiting from everyone’s taxes. At the end of the French equivalent of high school (collége), all students must take the baccalaureate (BAC) exam. The exam is scored out of 20, with a 10 being a passing score and a 14+ being considered good. Students study tirelessly for the exam, however roughly 30% do not pass every year and must take their senior year again. For the students who do pass, they are able to attend university! France has roughly 100 public and private universities. All of the public universities are subsidised by the government, and students from France, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway all pay extremely low tuition costs. Examples of this tuition cost are: 170 euros per year for Bachelor’s (Licence) programmes, 243 euros per year for Master’s programmes, and 380 euros per year for Doctorate (PhD) programmes.
France has seen how important having educated women is for the success of individuals, and the success of nations. France is eager to work with countries who have resources to help those who don’t. France knows that some of its neighbours (Germany, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, etc) have had similar histories to France. France is interested in helping all women, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, background, and culture, achieve a happy life through education. France is willing to do as much as we can to educate every woman, as education is a fundamental human right.

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