Global citizenship education (GCED) is one of the strategic areas of work for UNESCO’s Education Programme (2014-2017) and one of the three priorities of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) launched in September 2012.
Global Citizenship Education equips learners of all ages with those values, knowledge, and skills that are based on and instill respect for human rights, social justice, diversity, gender equality and environmental sustainability and that empower learners to be responsible global citizens. GCED gives learners the competencies and opportunity to realize their rights and obligations to promote a better world and future for all.
UNESCO’s work on GCED is guided by a three-pronged approach:
- policy dialogue in connection with the post-2015 education agenda
- providing technical guidance on GCED and promoting transformative pedagogies
- Clearinghouse function
Gender equality in education
Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO. It is inextricably linked to its efforts to promote the right to education and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through the Education 2030 Framework for Action:
- SDG 4 aims to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all", and
- SDG 5 aims to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls."
UNESCO is committed to promoting equal rights between men and women across education systems and at all levels, from preschool to higher education, in formal and non-formal structures, and in all areas of intervention, from planning infrastructure to teacher training.
STEM education for girls and women
Women and girls continue to be excluded from full participation in science and choose not to study or pursue careers in scientific fields due to various obstacles they face. Indeed, the untapped potential of brilliant girls and women interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) represents a missed opportunity for women and society. Gender differences to the detriment of girls' participation in STEM education are already visible in early childhood education and become even more visible at subsequent levels of education.
As is well known, the STEM theme is one of the bases of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and education in the areas of STEM can provide students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary for building inclusive and sustainable societies.
In response to the challenging scenario that encompasses the exclusion of girls and women in STEM areas, in 2022, UNESCO in Brazil, in an innovative way, convenes different partners and launches the #EDUCASTEM2030 initiative nationwide. Through teacher and student training strategies, communication and advocacy initiatives and network mapping, this initiative contemplates and aims to positively impact the identified areas (individual, social, school and family) to reverse the exclusion scenario.
According to UNESCO, bringing more girls and women into STEM education and careers requires holistic and integrated responses that cut across different sectors and involve girls and women themselves in identifying solutions to persistent challenges. By doing this already in basic education, we will move towards gender equality in education, through which women and men, girls and boys can fully participate, develop meaningfully, and create a much more inclusive, equitable and sustainable world.