Gender Equality in Education

©Parekidetasuna
Symbol of gender parity

Gender-based discrimination in education is both a cause and a consequence of deep-rooted disparities in society. Poverty, geographical isolation, ethnic background, disability, traditional attitudes about their status and role all undermine the ability of women and girls to exercise their rights. Harmful practices such as early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and discriminatory education laws, policies, contents and practices still prevent millions of girls form enrolling, completing and benefitting from education.

Gender must therefore be integrated at all levels of education, from early childhood to higher education, in formal and non-formal settings and from planning infrastructure to training teachers.

UNESCO works to promote equal opportunities to quality learning, free from gender-based or other forms of discrimination. In particular, UNESCO:

  • promotes gender equality in national education laws, policies and plans
  • seeks to expand access to learning opportunities, in particular for girls and women, in both formal and non-formal education
  • develops the capacity of education policy-makers, planners, teachers and other education personnel regarding gender-sensitive approaches
  • supports countries to make education content gender-sensitive and free from discrimination
  • seeks to address obstacles to learning such as gender-based violence and HIV & AIDS

Gender Equality and ESD at UNESCO

“ESD should actively promote gender equality, as well as create conditions and strategies that enable women to share knowledge and experience of bringing about social change and human well-being.”

Bonn Declaration, 2009 UNESCO World Conference on ESD

UNESCO promotes the integration of sustainable development issues such as climate change, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction into education systems.

Vulnerable groups including girls, women, indigenous and coastal populations are hardest hit by impacts of climate change, including the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters. Especially girls and women who often play an important role in managing risks in the household and community are aimed to benefit from climate change education and education for disaster risk reduction.  

For instance, UNESCO supports actions for enhancing and developing the crucial role of women through UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks on gender and women issues .

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