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Why do some countries succeed in promoting gender parity and equality in education while others do not? The answer often given is ‘political will’. All too often, however, no further explanation is offered. There has been little effort to understand why governments are unwilling or unable to change their policies and priorities to achieve equal access to education for girls and boys, as expressed in the third Millennium Development Goal. This paper considers the concept of political will and explores the role that it plays in improving gender parity and equality in education.

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