Young UNESCO engaged in promoting gender equality


On 1 April 2019, Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality, met with Young UNESCO at UNESCO Headquarters in the framework of UNESCO’s Strategic Transformation. 

Ms Corat’s presentation was aimed at explaining some key concepts of UNESCO’s Priority Gender Equality. To set the context for why gender equality is relevant to our daily life, Ms Corat shared some facts and figures regarding gender inequalities across the world, most particularly in UNESCO fields of competence.

  • Women account for almost 63% of illiterate adults.

  • An estimated one out of ten African girls miss school during menstruation because of inadequate sanitation facilities.

  • 34% of countries have not achieved parity in primary school, 55% have not achieved parity in lower secondary, and 75% have not achieved parity in upper secondary school.

  • Today women account for only 30% of the world’s researchers.

After mentioning the risks that the rise of conservatism and populism pose to gender equality on a global scale, Ms Corat then presented UNESCO’s key actions fostering Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. She recalled that UNESCO was the first United Nations agency to designate gender equality as a global priority in November 2007 – coming into effect January 2008 – and the only agency at that time to aim for gender mainstreaming in all its initiatives as well as gender balance in its Secretariat. She noted that: "women working at UNESCO’s decision-making level (D+ Level) represented 9% in 2004 and this percentage went up to 51% in 2018".

After her presentation, Ms Corat had an interactive exchange with Young UNESCO, those who were present in the room or via Skype. There was a great deal of interest on the part of the young colleagues, resulting in a lively discussion on UNESCO’s working languages and gender neutral language, LGBTQ+ rights and the fight against the rise of extremist and conservative ideologies.

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