“Better Life, Better Future”
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova launched a dynamic new partnership for girls’ and women’s education, at a high-level forum at UNESCO Headquarters on 26 May, in the presence of United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and international leaders of the political and corporate world.
“Better Life, Better Future” focuses on reaching illiterate or semi-literate adolescent girls and scaling up women’s literacy programmes through strong partnerships with corporate giants such as Nokia, Procter and Gamble, GEMS education, Microsoft, Apple and the Packard Foundation. Some of the projects have already started in Africa and Asia.
UNESCO is also inaugurating a High-Level Panel on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality to step up global advocacy act as a ‘global conscience’ for gender equality, with a specific focus on education.
It is widely recognized that investing in girls and women’s education has real potential for breaking the poverty cycle and achieving social justice. Nevertheless, around 39 million girls of lower secondary age are missing out on an education, while the majority - two thirds - of the world’s 796 million illiterate adults are women. The full potential of adolescent girls in particular has yet to be tapped. Some 600 million of them are invisible in the national policies of developing countries.