What is UNESCO?
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO’s programs contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
As a specialized agency and knowledge-based organization, UNESCO depends on highly skilled, committed professionals. Given the ambitious and exciting challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our expertise and global presence in the fields of Education, the Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information, is more relevant than ever. Geographically diverse and gender-balanced, UNESCO is committed to having a competent, motivated and dedicated workforce that acts with the highest integrity and is empowered to support UNESCO’s capacity to deliver on the sustainable development goals.
Gender Equality a UNESCO
Women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796 million adults without basic literacy skills; women represent less than 30% of the world’s researchers; and women journalists are more exposed to assault, threat or physical, verbal or digital attack than their male counterparts.
UNESCO believes that all forms of discrimination based on gender are violations of human rights, as well as a significant barrier to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Our message is clear: women and men must enjoy equal opportunities, choices, capabilities, power and knowledge as equal citizens. Equipping girls and boys, women and men with the knowledge, values, attitudes and skills to tackle gender disparities is a precondition to building a sustainable future for all.
What UNESCO does for Gender Equality
UNESCO makes an original and holistic contribution to creating an enabling environment for gender equality through coordinated actions in its five distinct major programmes:
- in Education, UNESCO addresses gender disparities and promotes equality throughout the education system – in participation in education (access), within education (content, context and practices, delivery modes and assessments), and through education (learning outcomes, life and work opportunities)
- In the Natural Sciences, UNESCO works towards providing strong role models for women, develops women’s capacities, and supports knowledge generation and dissemination that contributes to advancing equitable and sustainable development
- In the Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO fosters the inclusion of gender equality considerations in social inclusion and transformation policies. In its activities targeting young people, the Organization places special emphasis on the needs, expectations and aspiration of women in disadvantaged positions. It also develops the capacities of men and boys to become strong gender equality advocates
- Ensuring that women and men equally enjoy the right to access, participate in and contribute to cultural life is a guiding principle for UNESCO’s work on Culture. The international Cultural Conventions promote the inclusion of all community members in their implementation at the international, national and local levels, encouraging women and men to benefit equally from heritage and creativity
- UNESCO’s Communication and Information programme spearheads unique initiatives to empower women and girls, such as the development of Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) and the promotion of gender-sensitive Open Educational Resource policies.
Through identifying Gender Equality as a global priority for the Organization, UNESCO has committed to making a positive and lasting contribution to women’s empowerment and gender equality around the world.
Supporting women scientists: mentoring, networks and role models
A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made tremendous progresses towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still underrepresented in these fields.
Gender equality in STEM is not only a matter of fairness, or a basic human right. In fact, the untapped potential of brilliant girls and women who might be interested in STEM but choose not to pursue degrees or careers in these fields because of the various obstacles they may face, represents an important lost opportunity, both for women themselves as well as for the society as a whole. Gender equality should therefore be considered as a crucial means to promote scientific and technological excellence.
Projects and initiatives