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UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

10/28/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/28/2020 03:04

New publication: Generation equality begins with adolescent girls’ education

'My vision is to contribute to the birth of a new generation of young girls who are development stakeholders. Girls who have access to learning opportunities and sexual health education to make decisions and develop healthily, girls who fight to make their dreams come true and who tackle inequalities,' said Chanceline an adolescent girl from Benin.

Significant progress has been made in advancing education opportunities for girls like Chanceline in recent decades but gaps remain. Yet, 130 million girls worldwide remain out of school, and only two out of three girls are enrolled in secondary education.

UNESCO estimates another 11 million girls and young women may be at risk of not returning to school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening progress made since 1995, at the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action(link is external) (Beijing).

New publication Beijing+25: Generation Equality begins with adolescent girls' education demonstrates the importance of adolescent girls' education for the advancement of the visionary agenda set 25 years ago, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Developed jointly by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE), Plan International France and UNESCO, the publication places adolescent girls front and centre as it examines progress and persistent gaps to achieve gender equality in and through education since Beijing.

The publication promotes intersectoral approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships, and focuses on three levers of action: comprehensive sexuality education, the involvement of adolescent girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and the development of adolescent girls' leadership.

A set of recommendations is provided to fast-track investments and action on adolescent girls' education during the 2021 Generation Equality Forum(link is external), a global gathering for gender equality which carries forward the Beijing agenda, and related Action Coalitions.

The publication was launched on the occasion of the 2020 International Day of the Girl Child during an online event Placing gender equality at the heart of education for a new generation(link is external) featuring the voices of young women and girls whose lives have been transformed by gains in education made over the past 25 years. The record of the webinar is available here.

'We must not let the pandemic reverse the progress we have made since 1995. We owe it to the next generations to ensure that the right to education is a reality,' said UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, in her welcome remarks at the event.

'Fundraising alone is not enough', insisted Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of France to UNESCO, Véronique Roger-Lacan speaking to girls' education. 'Proposed solutions must be relevant to needs and barriers, going beyond school issues and into social norms and practices that are unfavourable to girls.'

'Inclusive quality education is one of the most powerful and important tools for achieving gender equality, active civic engagement and promoting girls' inherent agency and leadership', said Michelle Perrot, Advocacy and Youth Engagement Director at Plan International France.

Girls' education is a priority for UNESCO, the MEAE and Plan International France. This is the third time they have partnered to promote girls' education: in 2018 for the Learn to lead: Educated girls can do anything event and in 2019 at the G7 international conference Innovating for girls' and women's empowerment through education.

UNESCO and Global Education Coalition partners recently launched a campaign to ensure that #LearningNeverStops for every girl everywhere. Join us!

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