UNESCO joins partners in 16-step campaign to end gender-based violence in schools

School-related Gender-based Violence (SRGBV) deeply affects an estimated 246 million girls and boys in, around or on the way to school.

It is a global phenomenon that cuts across geographical, cultural, social, economic, ethnic or other boundaries, is a major obstacle in achieving gender equality and has long-lasting consequences on children’s ability to learn and stay in school.

UNESCO with UNGEI, UN WOMEN, Plan International and partners have joined together to highlight the issue with the campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence” which began on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, LINK on 25 November 2015.

Launched in 1991, the campaign which galvanizes action to end violence against women and girls around the world this year takes education as its focus. UNESCO and partners are issuing a 16-step ‘Call to Action’ during this period, which highlights the major actions that need to be taken by governments, UN, donors and civil society to bring an end to school-related gender-based violence.

The Call to Action is being highlighted through a series of  blogs, and will be presentated at a  panel discussion on 2 December at UNICEF House, New York, hosted by UNESCO and UNGEI. The panel will discuss the role of education in addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

During the event, perspectives from governments, civil society, youth, teachers and global partners will highlight how the education sector and other partners can respond collectively to abuse that occurs within and around school settings. Highlighting the key role of education as a socializing mechanism, they will further discuss how to challenge harmful cultural norms and how to nurture societies that promote Human Rights and contribute to the prevention of gender-based violence.

UNESCO will also present its forthcoming publication, Global Guidance on Education Sector Responses to SRGBV, co-authored with UN Women and due to be launched in early 2016. This Guidance will be a practical tool to assist ministries of education with the implementation of new commitments, made during the Incheon Declaration and in the Education 2030 agenda to support gender-sensitive policies, planning and provide safe and supportive learning environments.

At the same time as the New York event, the Global Guidance resource will be featured in the Asia-Pacific at two regional events focused on GBV. In Bangkok, UNESCO will present on the role of education in changing social norms around violence, as part of a knowledge-sharing meeting on Preventing Violence against Women and Girls through Social Norms Change, convened by UN Women, UNFPA, the Australian Government and the Korean Women’s Development Institute on 1-2, December, 2015.

On 3 December, 2015, UNESCO will participate with a range of partners in a summit on Coordinating Approaches to Address Gender Inequality, Gender-based Violence and Rights. That event, hosted by FHI 360, UNDP, the US Embassy in Thailand, and the USAID Asia Regional Mission in Thailand, will examine intersections and gaps between types of violence including SRGBV, and discuss how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal targets on GBV in Asia-Pacific.

The 16-step advocacy campaign is a part of a series of activities organized through the Global partners working group to end SRGBV. The Global Working Group is comprised of more than 30 of the leading international agencies, civil society organizations and institutions promoting girls’ education and gender equality who collaborated on ending gender-based violence in and around schools. It is co-hosted by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and UNESCO.

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