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Gender Differences and Mathematics Achievement of Rural Senior Secondary Students in Cross River State, Nigeria



To contribute to the realization of the Millennium Develop- ment Goal (MDG) by the United Nations on the promotion of gender equity, the researchers sought to empirically verify the existence or otherwise of gender inequality in the math- ematics achievement of rural male and female students in Cross River State, Nigeria; and whether parental socio-eco- nomic status and school proprietorship, taken independently, are significant factors in the achievement of the students. By stratified and simple random sampling, 2000 students (50% males, 50% female) were selected and a 30-item four- option multiple choice mathematics achievement test (MAT) was constructed (KR20 of 0.87 and item difficulty, 0.40 < p < 0.82) and administered. The independent t-test analy- sis of significance revealed gender inequality in the entire sample as well as among the low socio economic students and within public schools. Educational implications have been highlighted.
56 Proceedings of epiSTEME 3
Gender Differences and Mathematics Achievement of Rural
Senior Secondary Students in Cross River State, Nigeria
Sam William Bassey
, M. T. Joshua
and Alice E. Asim
Cross River University of Technology, Calabar, Nigeria,
University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
To contribute to the realization of the Millennium Develop-
ment Goal (MDG) by the United Nations on the promotion
of gender equity, the researchers sought to empirically verify
the existence or otherwise of gender inequality in the math-
ematics achievement of rural male and female students in
Cross River State, Nigeria; and whether parental socio-eco-
nomic status and school proprietorship, taken independently,
are significant factors in the achievement of the students.
By stratified and simple random sampling, 2000 students
(50% males, 50% female) were selected and a 30-item four-
option multiple choice mathematics achievement test (MAT)
was constructed (KR20 of 0.87 and item difficulty, 0.40
< 0.82) and administered. The independent t-test analy-
sis of significance revealed gender inequality in the entire
sample as well as among the low socio economic students
and within public schools. Educational implications have
been highlighted.
Mathematics education is to a nation what protein is to a
young human organism. As a vital tool for the understand-
ing and application of science and technology, the disci-
pline plays the vital role of a precursor and harbinger to the
much needed technological and of course national develop-
ment, which has become an imperative in the developing
nations of the world. The choice of this topic is predicated
on the current world trend and research emphasis on gen-
der issues following the millennium declaration of Septem-
ber 2000 (United Nations, 2000) which has as its goal, the
promotion of gender equity, the empowerment of women
and the elimination of gender inequality in basic and sec-
ondary education by 2005 and at all levels by 2015. In
realization of the significant role of Mathematics to nation
building, the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
made the subject compulsory at the basic and secondary
levels. This was aimed at ensuring the inculcation of Math-
ematics literacy and the associated equipment with logical
and abstract thinking needed for living, problem solving
and educational furtherance. For full realization of this laud-
able objective of Mathematics education, subject mastery
and demonstrated achievement should be evenly distrib-
uted across gender. Unfortunately, gender inequality in edu-
cation has remained a perennial problem of global scope
(Bordo, 2001; UNESCO, 2003; Reid, 2003).
Mathematics is a science subject and some gender-based
science researchers have reported that what both the ‘femi-
nist empiricists’ and the ‘liberal feminist critics’ seem to
agree is that females in principle will produce exactly the
same scientific knowledge as males provided that suffi-
cient rigour is undertaken in scientific inquiry (Howes, 2002;
Barton, 1998; Sinnes, 2006). They also believe that initia-
tives that build on the assumption that females and males
are equal in their approach to science, and that inequality in
science and science education is caused by political, edu-
cational and social factors external to science, would be
expected to focus on removing these external obstacles.
There is need therefore to give boys and girls exactly the
same opportunities and challenges.
In Nigeria, gender-achievement studies include Abiam and
Odok (2006) who found no significant relationship between
gender and achievement in number and numeration, alge-
braic processes and statistics. They however found the
existence of a weak significant relationship in Geometry
and Trigonometry. Though globally the issue of gender
57Gender Differences and Mathematics Achievement of ...
(Hopkins, 2004), whereas others hold the view that there is
no difference between rural and urban education (Howley,
The following null hypotheses are hereby stated:
: There is no significant difference between the
Mathematics achievement of rural male and female
students in Cross River State, Nigeria.
: Parental socio-economic status and school propri
etorship taken independently, are not significant fac
tors in the mathematics achievement of the rural
male and female students.
This study used the survey design which involves the col-
lection of data at current status for description of phenom-
ena, without deliberate effort to control the variables. The
area of the study, Cross River State, is one of the thirty six
(36) states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, situated in
the oil-rich south-south geo-political zone. It has eighteen
local government areas and lies between latitude 5
North of the Equator and longitude 7
and 9
East of the Greenwich meridian. The state has Calabar as
its capital, and is a leading tourist haven in Nigeria, with
attractions like the Tinapa, Calabar Export Processing Zone
(EPZ), the International Obudu Cattle Ranch, the Old Resi-
dency museum and Agbokim and Kwa waterfalls.
From the population of 19,200 rural secondary school two
(SS II) students in the state, 2000 students, that is 10.41
percent (50% male and 50% female) were selected by the
stratified random sampling technique. By the simple ran-
dom process, 30 schools (ten from each of the three sena-
torial districts) were selected such that by the same proce-
dure 800 were obtained from the Southern senatorial dis-
trict, 600 from the central district and 600 from the north.
Intact classes were used, subject to the sample size de-
scribed above. Sample students have mean age 16.80 years.
The sample distribution is shown in Table 1.
inequality in Science, Technology and Mathematics Educa-
tion (STME) has produced inconclusive results, one meta-
analysis covering the period 1974 – 1987 on Mathematics
and gender led to two conclusions: the average gender gap
is very small (statistically insignificant), and the fact that
the differences tend to decline with time (Friedman, 1989).
Another meta-analysis of 100 studies in gender and Math-
ematics performance corroborated the above findings
(Hyde, Fennema & Lamon, 1990). Some scholars blame
the colonizers of Africa for applying direct transfer of West-
ern Science curricula, examinations and teaching methods,
which fail to address the continental challenges of Africa.
Yoloye (1998) submitted that the result of this direct trans-
fer of western curricula, is a science and mathematics edu-
cation in most African countries that is exemplified by
decontextualized knowledge being transmitted by poorly
trained teachers in under-resourced and sometimes over-
crowded classrooms. As a consequence, the situation in
Nigeria is that, academic performance in Mathematics edu-
cation is still deplorably low, both in certificate and non-
certificate examinations. Many researchers identify inher-
ent unfairness in school-based assessment (Grifith, 2005;
Njabili, et al. 2005; Asim, 2007) which may result from
teachers’ incompetency in assessment (Asim, et al. 2007),
as well as psycho-cultural factors among others as being
responsible for this anomaly (Enukoha, 1995; Obodo, 1997;
West African Examination Council, 2002). This poor Math-
ematics performance of students is further worsened by
gender imbalance leading to the problem which now con-
stitutes a major research focus across the globe (UNESCO,
2003). In a study by Opolot-Okurut (2005) it was found
that for all the attitudinal variables (anxiety, confidence and
motivation), males had higher mean scores than females.
That is, differences in student attitude toward mathematics
based on gender were confirmed. Attitudes are known to
have positive relationship with student achievement. This
may be an indication that males perform better than fe-
males mathematically as a result of their higher attitude
It is believed that bridging gender gap is one major way of
achieving egalitarianism and enhancing human development.
School location is a variable in achievement and rural stu-
dents, who constitute the majority group in Nigeria, tend to
manifest more simple social relationships than their urban
counterparts, probably due to greater interpersonal ties in
rural settings, Hence one is led to wonder whether gender
disparities exist in the Mathematics achievement of rural
secondary school students in Cross River State. It is also
the objective of this study to verify whether parental socio
economic status and school proprietorship are significant
factors in the rural students’ Mathematics achievement.
Popular cultures view rural education as a deficit model
Table. 1. Sample distribution by district and sex
58 Proceedings of epiSTEME 3
A forty-five minute, thirty (30) item multiple choice math-
ematics achievement test (MAT) of four options, A to D,
was constructed by the researchers based on the prescribed
senior secondary two (SS II) curriculum to cover the basic
areas of number and numeration, Algebraic processes, Ge-
ometry and Mensuration, Trigonometry and Statistics/prob-
ability. Students were expected to encircle the option bear-
ing the answer.
The items were set based on the table of specifications in
Table 2.
Table. 2. Table of specification for MAT
Hypothesis 2
It is seen from Table 4 that, the achievement of rural male
and female students differ only for those in the low socio-
economic bracket and for public schools. At other levels
of the variables, there is no statistically significant differ-
The MAT has reliability coefficient (KR20) of 0.87 and was
certified to be content valid by three independent experts
(two of Mathematics education and one of educational mea-
surement and evaluation). The item difficulties, p
are such
that 0.40
< p
< 0.82. This instrument was administered by
the researchers with the aid of Graduate Students to the
sample of 2000 students across the state at the beginning
of the third term of 2007/2008 session (in early April).
The results of the study are summarized as shown below:
Hypothesis 1
From Table 3, it is seen that there is a significant differ-
ence between the Mathematics achievement of the rural
male and female students. This is because the calculated t-
value of 5.43 is greater than the critical t-value of 1.645 at
.05 level of significance and 1998 degrees of freedom. The
null hypothesis, Ho
is therefore rejected and the alternative
Discussion of Results
Interest in gender-achievement relationship among rural stu-
dents stems from the fact that these students are in the
majority in Nigeria as a heavily populated developing nation
in Africa. The first finding revealed the existence of signifi-
cant gender achievement gap in favour of the rural males
5.43, t
1.645 at .05 level of significance).
This corroborates popular research findings in gender lit-
erature (Ezeameyi 2002; Asimeng – Boahene 2006). Nur-
ture in Nigeria tends to favour male dominance over the
feminine gender. Environmental provision for male students
makes them fit and able to cope with tasks requiring high
intellectual challenge, computation and rigor. This phenom-
enon is further compounded in Africa where sex-stereo-
typing is so pervasive that from birth, society fixes gender
roles and conditions males to play and act within the con-
*p < .05
Table. 4. Independent t-test analysis of significance
between the Mathematics’ achievement of rural male and
female students of Cross River State, Nigeria, by SES
and School Proprietorship
*p < .05
Table. 3. Independent t-test analysis of significance
between the Mathematics achievement of rural male and
female students in Cross River State, Nigeria
59Gender Differences and Mathematics Achievement of ...
fines of intellectually and physically more challenging tasks
like construction, moulding, football, palm-wine tapping,
climbing, agriculture, fishing and the like. Women on the
other hand, are ‘sentenced’ to the kitchen and related do-
mestic chores, including child-rearing. By extension, fe-
male students in the school tend to opt for subjects like,
Home Economics and at most Biology. Chemistry, Phys-
ics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics are male-domi-
nated zones (Graham, 2001). In school, one hears female
students saying that further Mathematics is for the boys
and this low motivation may further widen the gender gap
in mathematics achievement (Mutemeri & Mygweni, 2005).
In fact, a typical informal survey in the Nigerian classroom
will readily show a greater proportion of female students
opting for non-Mathematical subjects if given the opportu-
nity. This may explain why Mathematics is made compul-
sory in both primary and secondary schools. Yet, till date
many students still offer the subject not by conviction of its
significance but on the basis of the compulsion.
The second hypothesis revealed that parental socio-eco-
nomic status (SES) and school proprietorship as correlates
of Student’s Mathematics achievement are only partially
gender sensitive. That is, whereas there is no significant
achievement difference between male and female Mathemat-
ics students from the high socio-economic parents, signifi-
cance is established for the achievements of male and fe-
male students from the low socio-economic parents. Also,
whereas, male and female students exhibit homogenous
Mathematics ability in the private schools, there is a signifi-
cant difference in the ability of the male and female stu-
dents from the public schools. All cases of significance
favour the male students.
These phenomena could be justified by the fact that stu-
dents of high socio-economic parents enjoy such motiva-
tional intervention as extra home coaching, enriched home
environment with tutorial disks and programmes available
in video, good library and better state of mental health. Their
less fortunate counterparts are highly stressed and exploited
at home through engagements in domestic tasks leaving
little time for studies. Private schools on the other hand are
characterized largely by effective teaching, good instruc-
tional supervision and the other advantages of small-scale
operation and more manageable teacher-pupil ratio. The
consequence is that learner inadequacies including gender
defect is over shadowed by strengths from other sources,
thus bridging gender gap. This cannot be said of public
schools. It is very likely therefore that the environmental
disadvantage, coupled with persistent sex-stereotyping typi-
cal of African cultures tend to keep the girls below the boys
in mathematics achievement.
It is concluded that there exists significant gender differ-
ences in rural students’ Mathematics achievement in Cross
River State, Nigeria.
Educational Implications
A lot needs to be done to bridge the observed gender gap in
the Mathematics achievement of rural students in Cross
River State, Nigeria. More co-educational institutions for
instance, should be established to foster greater healthy ri-
valry in Mathematics instruction. Male and female stu-
dents need to compete, collaborate and gain from one an-
other in Mathematics teaching and learning.
Guidance machinery in the school should be energized to
encourage more women participation in effective mathemat-
ics learning. The female students should be informed that
mathematics could be studied and passed just like other
subjects, and that the subject is an essential tool, a prereq-
uisite for further education in a host of vocations. Failure in
Mathematics is therefore a serious set-back in capacity
building and human development.
The current poverty alleviation programme in Nigeria should
be sustained and made practically more effective to bridge
the gap between the rich and the poor. This will improve
child education and foster national development.
Greater collaboration in school funding should be pursued
by the government at all levels so that the public schools
which are so poorly funded could improve their capacity
for productivity. The government should apply itself to the
United nations prescribed minimum budgetary allocation for
education. The situation whereby governors release less
funds than they budgeted for will keep the public school
permanently impoverished, and paupers are educational
Mathematics teaching and evaluation strategies should be
gender bias-free. This way, males and females will tend to
see themselves as equals, capable of competing and col-
laborating in classroom activities.
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The main purpose of this study was to investigate factors affecting female students’ academic performance in second cycle of primary schools in Bahir Dar City Administration. Descriptive survey research design was employed. Four second cycle primary public schools were selected through simple random sampling technique. Students, teachers, principals, supervisors and Bahir Dar City Administration Education Officials were the respondents of the study. Questionnaire, interview, FGD and observation were employed to collect the relevant data. To analyze the quantitative data, simple descriptive statistical techniques like frequencies and percentages were employed. To support the quantitative data, the qualitative data were also analyzed thematically. The result of the study showed that female students had less achieved in academic performance as compared with male students. Various factors like parents’ education level, school facilities, income level of parents, domestic workloads, school environment, attitude of the society towards female education were found to be the major factors determining the academic performance of female students. Since the factors affecting female students’ academic performance are emanated from different perspectives, the study recommends that the involvement of various stakeholders is needed in order to enhance the academic performance of female students.
... This poor Mathematics performance of students is further worsened by gender imbalance leading to the problem which now constitutes a major research focus across the globe (UNESCO, 2003 as cited in Bassey, Joshua, & Asim, 2009). Achor, Imoko and Ajai (2010) in a study, found out that in Nigeria male students perform better than their female counterparts in mathematics despite being subjected to the same classroom situation. ...
The study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of Computer Animation Instructional Package on balancing gender achievement and knowledge retention in mathematics in secondary schools. The study was a quasi-experimental type adopting the pre-test, posttest non-equivalent control design type. The population of the study comprised of all senior secondary 1(SS1) students of Government owned secondary schools in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State. The sample for the study was 225 students from two purposively selected secondary schools consisting of 127 females and 98 males. The instrument for data collection was a researcher made 30-item objective test questions titled “Mathematics achievement Test (MAT)”. It had reliability coefficient of 0.91 determined using Kuder-Richardson (KR21.). The experiment group was taught Surface area and volume of solids using Computer Animation Instructional Package (CAIP) while, the control group was taught the same concept using traditional approach. The data generated was analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer research questions while the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA). The result of the study revealed that Computer Animation Instructional Package (CAIP) reduced gender disparity associated with mathematics achievement as there was no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught mathematics using Computer Animation Instructional Package (CAIP). Also there was no significant difference between the posttest and delayed posttest mean achievement scores of students taught mathematics using Computer Animation Instructional Package(CAIP). Based on the result it was recommended that, Mathematics teachers should use Computer Animation Instructional Package (CAIP) to teach mathematics as to reduce gender disparity in mathematics achievement and enhance knowledge retention in secondary schools.
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This study was undertaken to find out the effect of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach on senior secondary school students' achievement in algebra. The design of the study was quasi-experimental pre test-post test control group. Four hundred and forty seven senior secondary one (SS I) students of six grant-aided and government schools sampled using multistage sampling were involved in the study. Two hundred and eleven students were assigned to the experimental group while two hundred and thirty six students were assigned to the control group. Students' Algebra Achievement Test (SAAT) constructed by the researchers was the main instrument used for data collection. Four hypotheses were raised for the study and tested using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) at .05 level of significance. Findings of the study showed that students taught using PBL achieved significantly higher in the post test than those taught algebra using conventional method. The interaction effects on achievement due to methods and gender was not significant (at. The study proved the efficacy of PBL. The strategy is therefore recommended for use by mathematics teachers to enhance students' achievement.
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Self efficacy dan hasil belajar matematika antara siswa dan siswi cenderung berbeda. Siswa selama ini dianggap memiliki self efficacy dan hasil belajar matematika yang lebih tinggi dibandingkan dengan siswi. Penulis ingin menguji secara empirik dan mencari hubungan antara self efficacy dengan hasil belajar matematika siswa maupun siswi, sekaligus perbedaan self efficacy antara keduanya. Data dikumpulkan melalui angket self efficacy dan hasil belajar matematika yang dilihat di rapor, lalu dianalisis dengan metode korelasi. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan tidak terdapat hubungan antara self efficacy dengan hasil pembelajaran matematika siswa maupun siswi, dan tidak terdapat perbedaan yang signifikan antara self efficacy siswa dan siswi
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The aim of the study was to establish the extent to which mathematics instructional practices in early childhood education relate to or make use of children's experiences. The major question that guided the study was: In which ways do early childhood teachers use children's out-of-school strategies and everyday experiences in teaching mathematics? The study was conceptualised within a constructivist framework, in which meaningful mathematics instruction for young learners capitalises on their prior knowledge and the ways they solve their daily mathematical problems, and promotes active thinking in the process of making meaning. The study was qualitative, involving classroom observations using videotapes, interviews with teachers and questionnaires with Grade 1 and 2 teachers in a district of Masvingo, Zimbabwe. The major findings of the study were: teachers used children's knowledge minimally when introducing lessons and failed to build on children's knowledge throughout the lessons. There were observably low motivation and low performance by children during lessons. The ramifications of the study for policy and practice are discussed.
This report is part of a study in which secondary school students' attitudes towards mathematics were investigated. The sample consisted of 254 (123 males and 131 females) senior three (Grade 9) students in nine secondary schools in three districts of Central Uganda. The data were collected using a Student Attitude Towards Mathematics Inventory on student mathematics anxiety, confidence to learn mathematics and motivation to mathematics. The data were analysed using the Rasch model. The results indicate significant differences in all the attitudes variables measured between the male and female students. The students in the high- performing schools indicated higher attitudes than the students in the low-performing schools. It is argued that student attitudes towards mathematics be addressed to improve student achievement in mathematics. Implications for secondary mathematics teaching are suggested.
Unlike many other countries, physics is highly popular in secondary education in Scotland, with large numbers opting for study at the Higher Grade on which entry to higher education is based. This paper reports a project that explored the attitudes and perceptions of Scottish girls and boys towards physics over the age range of 10-18 years old. Towards the end of primary school, attitudes towards science are very positive and both boys and girls are looking forward to studying more science in secondary school, although there is no evidence that the introduction of primary science has been a factor. By the end of the second year of secondary school, these positive attitudes have declined quite markedly and a significant decline of girls' attitudes towards science relative to boys' attitudes was clearly observed. The success of the Standard Grade physics course (a 2-year course taken in third and fourth year, ages 14-16 approximately) is easy to observe in terms of the restoration of positive attitudes of boys and girls again as the pupils move through third and fourth year. This process is especially clearly marked among girls. Surprisingly, over 90 per cent of the observed fourth year pupils wanted to continue studies in physics but a marked decline in attitude is observed during the Higher Grade course (a 1-year course which follows Standard Grade), this being more marked for boys. If the number of girls in physics is an issue for concern within the structure of Scottish system, then the focus of attention should be the structure and nature of the science course in the early secondary school.
This paper is a meta-analysis of studies that have taken place between 1974 and mid-1987 on sex differences in mathematical tasks. The methods used are estimations of (a) parameters for a random effects model and (b) coefficients for a linear regression equation, all based on effect sizes calculated from each study. These results are compared with meta-analyses of the studies on quantitative skill collected by Maccoby and Jacklin. These comparisons, together with ad hoc comparisons of Scholastic Aptitude Test effect sizes over the years, yield two conclusions. First, the average sex difference is very small; a confidence interval for it covers zero, though the interval lies mainly on the side of male advantage. Second, sex differences in performance are decreasing over the years.
Over the past years, a large body of scholarly literature has developed to address gender inequity in the developed world, and suggestions for reducing the gender gap are well documented in the literature. However, still lacking in research is why there is gender inequity in mathematics and science education in African schools. Girls are not receiving the same quality, or even quantity, of education as their male classmates in both subjects. This article discusses this gender bias, the discriminatory policies, and the consequences. It also suggests several promising strategies for discovering long-term solutions to this problem. (Contains 1 table.)
This study describes a program designed to increase participation and involvement of female students in physical science classrooms and laboratories. The setting for the study is a high school in a suburban middle class community adjacent to a metropolitan area in the Midwest. Evidence for the existence of the problem includes student involvement checklists, teacher log to focus on general observations of student involvement throughout the quarter, and student survey to identify the perceptions of the students as to their level of involvement in the classroom and laboratory. Analysis of probable cause data revealed that female under involvement in science has many possible causes. Teachers interact more often and in more detail with male students who tend to be more aggressive. Female students have a more difficult transition through adolescence than male students. Science as a discipline discourages females. Society undervalues the role of women and sends mixed messages to females. To further add to the problem, there is an overall denial of gender biases. A review of solution strategies resulted in three categories for intervention: teacher instruction to increase awareness of gender bias, modification of teacher behavior to eliminate gender inequities, and instructional strategies using cooperative learning to improve participation and reduce competitive behavior. Post intervention data indicated an increase in classroom participation by the targeted female students in physical science. (Contains 25 references.) (Author/ASK)
Two copies kept. One at Call number EFA 92 (reference) and one at Call number EFA 26.1 (loanable). See also Summaries in English & French. Only the summary is available in Spanish and Portuguese. Also available on CD-ROM in English, French and Spanish.
Reviewers have consistently concluded that males perform better on mathematics tests than females do. To make a refined assessment of the magnitude of gender differences in mathematics performance, we performed a meta-analysis of 100 studies. They yielded 254 independent effect sizes, representing the testing of 3,175,188 Ss. Averaged over all effect sizes based on samples of the general population, d was -0.05, indicating that females outperformed males by only a negligible amount. For computation, d was -0.14 (the negative value indicating superior performance by females). For understanding of mathematical concepts, d was -0.03; for complex problem solving, d was 0.08. An examination of age trends indicated that girls showed a slight superiority in computation in elementary school and middle school. There were no gender differences in problem solving in elementary or middle school; differences favoring men emerged in high school (d = 0.29) and in college (d = 0.32). Gender differences were smallest and actually favored females in samples of the general population, grew larger with increasingly selective samples, and were largest for highly selected samples and samples of highly precocious persons. The magnitude of the gender difference has declined over the years; for studies published in 1973 or earlier d was 0.31, whereas it was 0.14 for studies published in 1974 or later. We conclude that gender differences in mathematics performance are small. Nonetheless, the lower performance of women in problem solving that is evident in high school requires attention.
U. N. millennium declaration 55/2 resolution adapted by the general assembly
United Nations (2000). U. N. millennium declaration 55/2 resolution adapted by the general assembly, September 18, 2000.