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UNESCO commissions case studies to review outcomes of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

As part of a 25-year review of progress, and as a contribution to UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report’s Gender Report, UNESCO and the GEM Report commissioned a series of case studies to take stock of how selected strategies recommended in the Platform have been implemented in 11 countries around the world.

UNESCO | China | Updated: 02-12-2020 09:53 IST | Created: 02-12-2020 09:53 IST
UNESCO commissions case studies to review outcomes of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Image Credit: Flickr

2020 marks 25 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a landmark commitment to girls' and women's rights. As part of a 25-year review of progress, and as a contribution to UNESCO's 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report's Gender Report, UNESCO and the GEM Report commissioned a series of case studies to take stock of how selected strategies recommended in the Platform have been implemented in 11 countries around the world.

The case studies from Argentina, Sierra Leone, and the United Kingdom show how early pregnancy hinders girls' education, and what steps have been taken to remove barriers to formal education for pregnant adolescents and young mothers. In these countries, strong political commitment, civil society engagement, and holistic measures have proven effective and led to progress in reducing early pregnancy rates and providing education for pregnant girls and young parents.

Those for Botswana, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates review what steps have been taken to ensure non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive school and career counseling to encourage girls' pursuit of fields where they are under-represented, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs. Further efforts are needed here – and in many contexts – to help girls make informed choices, free of gender bias, about their future fields of study and careers.

Case studies from Comoros, Ethiopia, and Nepal also reveal mixed progress in the development of curricula, textbooks, and teaching aids that are free of gender-based stereotypes and bias. In Comoros and Ethiopia, no significant change was achieved in gender representation in texts, illustrations or roles assigned. In contrast, learning materials in Nepal have become much more gender-responsive, though more needs to be done as gender stereotypes are still present.

Case studies from Brazil and Bulgaria show there is still a long way to go to achieve equality between women and men in the education workforce, despite some positive developments since 1995. Gender inequality is still present in teacher recruitment and promotion to leadership positions. Breaking the glass ceiling is not yet part of the education policymaking agenda.

These country examples show that while undeniable progress has been made in the 25 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action, we are a long way from fulfilling our commitments to gender equality in and through education.

"Twenty-five years since the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, girls still face barriers that keep them away from school and realizing their full potential. We must ensure equality for this next generation of girls and boys in and through education," shares Manos Antoninis, the Director of the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report.

UNESCO calls on governments to step up their efforts, even as they respond to the current COVID-19 crisis, to ensure all girls continue their education and return to schools safely as they reopen. We must leverage the incredible potential of girls' education, which transforms societies – making them fairer and more prosperous – and which ensures a better future for us all.

These efforts directly contribute to UNESCO's initiative, Her education, our future, launched last year and calling for accelerated collective action in favor of girls' and women's education.


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