“Better Life, Better Future”

UNESCO Somalia/Kate Holt
- A teacher and her students at a school in Mogadishu Somalia, 2013

UNESCO Global partnership for girls’ and women’s education

UNESCO launched the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, known as ‘Better Life, Better Future’, in 2011 guided by the conviction that educating girls and women can break the cycle of poverty and foster greater social justice. The Partnership seeks to increase learning opportunities for adolescent girls and women and to find solutions to some of the biggest challenges and obstacles to their education. Particular emphasis is given to expanding and improving the quality of education for girls and women at the secondary level and in the area of literacy, to take successful initiatives to scale, to replicate good practice and to engage new actors.

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Why a Partnership on Girls' and Women's Education?

For many, being born a girl could be a life sentence of inequality and injustice. Girls and women are subject to multiple forms of  discrimination in all spheres of their lives, including education. A vicious circle sets in: girls and women are less likely to go to school, their performance through education is often unequal compared to that of boys and men; and in turn these missed opportunities generate more discrimination, holding them back simply because of their gender.

We need to intensify efforts, increase awareness, galvanize new resources, and gain momentum for girls’ and women’s education. This requires an innovative partnership. We must bring together a wide range of partners and take advantage of their strengths, including in funding, expertise, and outreach.

To empower girls and women, we must pay particular attention to expanding and improving the quality of education at secondary level and in the area of literacy, which have been too often neglected in the implementation of the Education For All agenda. We must scale up successful initiatives, share good practices, and mobilize new actors.

2015 is a decisive year. The world is coming together to make crucial  commitments for the development of a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for all. Gender equality and respect for the basic human rights of girls and women, including their right to education, must remain at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.


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The Partnership Addresses the Two Weakest Links

Secondary education

Girls face a distinctive set of barriers to learning, especially when they reach postprimary levels of education. At that age, girls drop out of school for many reasons: early marriage and pregnancy, violence in and around schools, poverty, household chores, lack of gender-sensitive learning contents and environments.

Targeted measures are needed to get girls to school, and keep them in school, until they complete a full course of education.


Illiteracy has a female face. It is a major obstacle to women’s empowerment. Women are often the poorest and most marginalized in social, political and economic domains.

Illiteracy is a reflection of gender discrimination and a factor in reproducing female poverty and keeping girls out of school.

Literacy programmes that are sensitive and adapted to their specific context and needs lead to transformational change.

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Our Partners & How you can get involved

A wide range of actors have supported programmes set up under the Partnership:

  • Governments (China, France, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, USA)
  • International organizations (UN Women, UNFPA, World Bank)
  • Private sector (Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, Allied Aid Foundation, CEO Institute, CJ Group, GEMS Foundation, Hainan Airlines, HNA Group, Nokia, Packard Foundation, Procter & Gamble, UNFCU Foundation)
  • Civil society organizations and NGOs (The Barefoot College)


How you can get involved

Whether you represent:

  • Governments
  • Bilateral & multilateral organizations
  • Private sector
  • Foundations
  • Media
  • Civil society organizations & NGOs
  • Others

You can invest in improving the lives and futures of girls and women in the most underprivileged settings. UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education provides a solid platform, bringing together UNESCO’s unique experience in education and its extended multi-sectoral network.

Find out how you can become a partner and support UNESCO’s efforts to make the right to education a reality for all girls and women:

Education Sector UNESCO7, place de Fontenoy75352 Paris 07 SP, France
Email: gender.ed(at)unesco.org
Website: www.unesco.org/new/better-life-better-future


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The Way Forward

Girls’ and women’s education is a fundamental human right and is a catalyst
for wider development outcomes. Educating girls results in improved family health, civic participation, increased productivity and prosperity.

With the power to transform not only their lives but also the lives of their families
and their communities, girls’ and women’s education must be prioritised. It holds the key to a better future and the key to the world we want to live in.

Building on the achievements and experiences of previous years, UNESCO will
expand the Partnership to ensure that it becomes a dynamic mechanism to promote girls’ and women’s education beyond 2015.

It will complement other United Nations initiatives, including the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).

The Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education will continue to raise awareness and advocate for the importance of girls’ and women’s education as a basic human right, a global priority and an imperative development objective, so that girls and women can access and benefit from good quality education.


  • Increase the number and diversity of partners
  • Expand geographical coverage
  • Increase the amount of resources invested in girls’ and women’s education
  • Promote South-South and North-South-South cooperation


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