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This paper was part of a panel presentation at the International Literacy Year Colloquium in October 1990, in Washington, D.C. Addressing the obstacles to education faced by women in many parts of the world is a primary thrust of the paper. It goes on to point out that there are many definitions of literacy, depending on the context. Several examples of programs in which the academy is involved in different areas of the world are presented. The paper concludes by stating that increasing the level of education for women will not happen by chance; it must be mandated.