What does it mean ?
The adult female literacy rate is the percentage of women aged 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement.
Why does it matter ?
Improving literacy and education for women not only leads to improved health and livelihood outcomes for the woman herself and her family, but has a positive impact on a nation's economy and development. The 4th Sustainable Development Goal is to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, with one of the stated targets being "by 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy."
How is it collected ?
Data on literacy is gathered from large scale, nationally representative surveys such as Demographic and Health (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), other national surveys and censuses.
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (June 2016 Release) based on data for 1999 - 2015 http://data.uis.unesco.org/Index.aspx?queryid=166