Promoting gender equality and lifelong learning for girls and women

20 June 2016

Providing girls and women with lifelong learning opportunities will empower them to make an even greater contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This standpoint was reaffirmed by the participants of the International Seminar on Girls’ and Women’s Education, which was co-organized by UNESCO and the Government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing from 4 to 7 June 2016.

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) participated in a panel on promoting lifelong learning for girls and women through literacy and non-formal education. Drawing on evidence from UNESCO’s Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (LitBase), UIL’s main recommendation for policymakers was to take a more holistic approach to empowering women through literacy and lifelong learning. UIL emphasized that educated women and girls have a crucial role to play in ‘transforming our world’ and achieving gender equality.

During the Seminar, the UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, and the Chinese First Lady and UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education, Ms Peng Liyuan, awarded the first UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education to laureates from Indonesia and Zimbabwe.

Participants discussed ways of overcoming barriers to gender equality and of building inclusive and gender-responsive learning societies. Furthermore, the participants recommended integrated approaches to literacy in order to achieve the SDGs, in particular gender equality.