UNESCO and Alcatel Lucent unite to promote gender equality

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel Lucent, Michel Combes, today signed a cooperation agreement designed to promote gender equality.

The agreement, signed at UNESCO’s Headquarters, aims to increase the representation and participation of women in professional life through partnerships with universities, social networks and corporations.

“We are very happy to establish a partnership with a cutting-edge technology company like Alcatel Lucent that has a strong grassroots base, especially in the area of our global priority: gender equality,” said the Director-General. “Throughout my travels, I have seen girls and women take leadership. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize sends a wonderful message that education matters and that grassroots level activism makes a difference."

 “Gender diversity is close to our heart, and empowering women with digital technologies is an important part of our work,” said Michel Combes. “Societies have not encouraged girls to pursue scientific and engineering careers, and we have embarked on many actions in this area, including through m-learning. We are proud to have a strong grassroots movement, created by employees for employees, with a membership of over 1,000 in 50 countries.”

Over two years, the partners will draw on the model provided by StrongHer, a social network created by Alcatel Lucent to improve the participation of women in the group’s decision making process.

UNESCO and Alcatel Lucent have been working together for a long time in the Broadband Commission, notably in the working group on gender.

Since its creation, UNESCO has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the rights of women and their empowerment. In 2008, gender equality became one of the Organization’s two global priorities.