UNESCO and Microsoft sign a new framework agreement in support of girls' and women's education
UNESCO and Microsoft signed a new partnership agreement on 27 May 2011. The partnership aims at addressing the growing social and economic issue of unequal education opportunities and low literacy rates for women and girls across the world.
The partnership is inscribed in the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education for improving literacy and the quality of education for girls and women, launched by UNESCO the same day.
The new initiative, also known as, “Better Life. Better Future,” focuses on improving secondary education and adult literacy for females across the globe by implementing programs that prevent the dropout rates of adolescent girls in transition from primary to secondary education and in lower secondary schools, as well as scaling up women’s literacy programs through stronger advocacy and partnerships.
New ways to reach these groups are sorely needed. Two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate adults are women. In addition, in many parts of the world illiteracy rates for women are well over 50 percent, according to the CIA World Fact Book. A large portion of these groups are adolescent girls in developing countries across Asia and Africa.
Microsoft is committed to lead an effort around the use of mobile technologies for education, with a focus on girls and women. The flexibility and relative affordability of phones allows for easy distribution and use, providing distance learning across geographical barriers. One of the first projects we will be working on is how to bring literacy retention applications thru mobile devices to the underserved across the world.
Microsoft has made the commitment to do work that empowers girls and women because of the impact which education can play and the positive ripples it brings to the quality of life and community. UNESCO and Microsoft share the goal of empowering young women as the next generation of teachers, parents, entrepreneurs and business leaders who will carry our world forward.