Women's and Girls' Education

Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO and inextricably linked to its efforts to promote the right to education and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) and SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) through the Education 2030 Framework for Action

Gender inequality in education affects both girls and boys, and women and men, but girls and women are still more often disadvantaged. 

Poverty, geographical isolation, minority status, disability, early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and traditional attitudes about the status and role of women, are among the many obstacles that stand in the way of women’s and girls’ fully exercising their right to participate in, complete and benefit from education.

UNESCO is committed to promoting gender equality in and through education systems from early childhood to higher education, in formal, non-formal and informal settings and in all intervention areas from planning infrastructure to training teachers.


In particular, UNESCO:    

  • Monitors progress through the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated education data and the monitoring of normative instruments related to gender equality;  
  • Helps countries develop their national capacities in mainstreaming gender in educational laws, policies, plans, as well as teacher training;
  • Advocates for girls’ and women’s education through innovative collaborations such as the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, “Better Life, Better Future”;  
  • Seeks to expand girls’ and women’s access to formal and non-formal education, including through Information, Communication and Technology (ICT);   
  • Supports the development of curricula and textbooks free from stereotypes and discrimination;  
  • Helps countries address gender-based violence;
  • Conducts policy research on the barriers to advancing gender equality, and to expand and strengthen the expertise and knowledge base of UNESCO;
  • Collaborates with partners on policy advocacy at global, regional and national levels in support of girls' and women’s education, as well as gender equality.