Progress has been made in meeting the needs and aspirations of girls and young women. Girls’ education has expanded. The gender parity index for gross enrolment in primary education rose from an estimated 0.92 in 1999 to 0.96 in 2007 and the literacy rate for female youth increased from 79.2 per cent in the period 1985-1994 to 86.8 per cent for 2005-2007. Women’s participation in paid employment has also continued to increase slowly, particularly in those regions in which women have the least presence in the labour market. Yet girls’ transition rates to secondary education are still of major concern and in most regions of the world, young women experience more difficulties than young men in finding decent employment. Close to two thirds of all employed women have vulnerable jobs, either as contributing family workers or as own-account workers.