Building peace in the minds of men and women

Joint Press Conference to announce "Stand up for Malala - Stand up for Girls' Right to Education" Day

UNESCO and the government of Pakistan will host a high-level advocacy event entitled "Standup for Malala - Stand up for Girls' Right to Education" to be held in Paris on 10 December. The event, which will coindide with the United Nations' Human Rights Day, is designed to generate political will and accelerate action in favour of every girl’s right to go to school.

According to the statement released by the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, "The assassination attempt on Malala represents a violation of girls’ right to an education. In far too many countries, girls are deprived of this fundamental human right that is the key to dignity and a decent future. As discrimination starts early in a girl’s life, we must harness the global solidarity movement around Malala to strengthen political will and put in place all the measures required to ensure that all girls have a place in school."

A local press conference held today in Islamabad, was hosted by the Federal Minister for Education and Training Sheikh Waqas Akram, Federal Secretary of Education and Training Qamar Zaman and Director of the UNESCO Office in Islamabad, Pakistan, Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata.  In the presence of the local media they jointly announced that "Standup for Malala - Stand up for Girls' Right to Education" day in Paris will be attended by the president of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari.  They then signed an invitation letter to the above event with the Director-General of UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova.

"The event will mobilize Heads of State and government, leaders of UN agencies, international and bilateral organizations, foundations, donors, the private sector, civil society, academics, religious leaders, eminent personalities, the media and other stakeholders in an effort to reinforce commitment in favour of programs for girls' education," said the Federal Minister for Education and Training.

Mr. Wagas Akram shared with the press statistics which paint a gloomy picture of gender disparities in Pakistan. "The youth literacy rate among 15-24 year old women in Pakistan is 61% compared to 79% for males. The overall adult female literacy rate is projected to be 47% by the year 2015. This shows that gender gap still exists", said Mr. Waqas Akram quoting from UNESCO's EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2012.

"10th of December coincides with the United Nations' Human Rights Day -- a perfect occasion to advocate globally for girls’ right to education and promote the Education for all (EFA) goals," noted noted Director of the UNESCO Office in Islamabad Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata.