Strategy - Global Priority Gender Equality

Extracts from Approved Programme and Budget 2014-2017 37 C/5
Major Programme IV


For Major Programme IV, gender equality signifies ensuring that women and men equally enjoy the right to access, participate and contribute to cultural life. UNESCO’s approach to promoting gender equality in cultural life is based on a commitment to cultural rights and cultural diversity, and guided by the international human rights framework1. Moreover, field experience and research have demonstrated how gender relations come into play in the transmission of cultural knowledge and skills, the protection and safeguarding of heritage, and the emergence and strengthening of vibrant cultural and creative sectors.


Major Programme IV will aim to address existing challenges in achieving gender equality in cultural life identified from lessons learnt during GEAP I, and internal analysis of programme impact. These include, inter alia, unequal value attributed to the roles of women and men in heritage protection and transmission (tangible and intangible); unequal opportunities for women to share their creativity with audiences; “glass ceiling” for women to reach senior management positions or to participate in decision-making processes; negative stereotypes and limitations on freedom of expression based on gender; and sex-specific challenges accessing technical and entrepreneurial training as well as financial resources. Furthermore, limited knowledge about how gender can be meaningfully integrated in heritage safeguarding and the availability of sex-disaggregated data is restricting the potential of cultural policies to reduce these inequalities and to ensure that women and men can equally enjoy and benefit from heritage and creativity.

GEAP II and document 37 C/5

In order to enhance programme efficiency and impact, actions have been closely aligned to MLA 1 and MLA 2 of Major Programme IV during the 37 C/5. 12.7% of the indicative budget for document 37 C/5 will be allocated to gender equality. These activities will be structured around three axes:

(a) Individual and institutional capacity-building: UNESCO will support Member States and the governing bodies of its normative instruments in establishing gender-sensitive, gender-responsive and gender-transformative policies and practices in the fields of heritage and creativity. Main activities will include providing policy guidance on the integration of gender equality into national cultural policies, developing gender planning tools that are respectful of cultural rights of communities, encouraging equal access to capacity-building and specialized training in the fields of culture, and supporting other measures that promote the greater involvement of women in decision-making mechanisms related to heritage and creativity;

(b) Advocacy and awareness-raising: UNESCO will work with Member States to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality in heritage and creativity at the local, national and international levels. This will be achieved by mainstreaming gender-sensitive perspectives in capacity-building manuals and programmes, and other operational documents of the Culture Conventions, as well as by the organization of specialized gender sessions at workshops, seminars and conferences; and

(c) Research and knowledge management: UNESCO will launch a multi-media initiative on gender equality and culture. UNESCO will collect best practices from Member States, generate new research, mobilize networks, and centralize information on policies, practices and data related to gender equality and culture in a report (paper and e-publication).

Intra-sectoral knowledge-sharing on gender equality will be increased through the Cultural-Conventions Liaison Group, and knowledge management of gender-related activities, including sex-disaggregation of data.

The introduction of the systematic collection of information on gender from the Periodic Reports of the relevant Culture Conventions will further serve to underpin baseline data to inform future programmatic strategy, impact assessments and monitoring in support of gender mainstreaming.

Expected results

  • Increased recognition of women’s contributions to cultural life through enhanced advocacy, improved data collection and knowledge management
  • Creative horizons of women and girls broadened and encouraged
  • Cultural policies that respect gender equality, women's rights and freedom of expression and ensure women's access to decision-making posts and processes
  • Women’s and girls’ access to and participation in cultural life, including cultural heritage, creative expression and enjoyment of cultural goods and services enhanced

Back to global Strategy 2014-2017

Back to top