“Better Life, Better Future”: Global partnership for girls’ and women’s education


A teacher and her students at a school in Mogadishu Somalia, 2013
© UNESCO Somalia/Kate Holt

Being born a girl can be a life sentence of inequality and injustice. Girls and women are subject to multiple forms of discrimination in all spheres of their lives, including in and through education. In many contexts, they are less likely than boys to go to school, their educational performance is often unequal compared to that of boys and men, and in turn, these missed opportunities generate more inequality.

To increase awareness and galvanize new resources for girls’ and women’s education, more innovative partnerships are needed with stronger funding, expertise, and outreach. UNESCO launched the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, known as “Better Life, Better Future”, in 2011 guided by the belief that educating girls and women can break the cycle of poverty and foster greater social justice.


  • Increase learning opportunities for adolescent girls and women
  • Expand and improve the quality of education for girls and women at the secondary level and in the area of literacy
  • Scale up geographical coverage and replicate good practices
  • Engage a wider and more diverse network of partners.

Two key areas

Secondary education

Girls face a distinctive set of barriers to learning, especially when they reach post-primary levels of education. At that age, girls drop out of school for many reasons: early marriage and pregnancy, violence in and around schools, poverty, household chores, lack of gender-responsive learning contents and environments, among others. Targeted measures are needed to get girls to school, and keep them in school, until they complete the full course of education.


Illiteracy has a female face. It is a major obstacle to women’s empowerment. Women are often the poorest and most marginalized in social, political and economic domains. It is also a reflection of gender discrimination and a factor in reproducing female poverty and keeping girls out of school. Literacy programmes that are sensitive and adapted to the specific needs of girls and women and the context can lead to transformative change.

Project Portfolio  

Some examples of current projects in this portfolio include:

Get involved

UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education provides a solid platform for governments, bilateral or multilateral organizations, the private sector, foundations, media, civil society organizations or NGO among others to make a concrete difference in girls’ and women’s lives. A wide range of actors have already supported programmes set up under the Partnership. You and your organization can also invest in improving the lives and futures of girls and women.

To become a partner and support UNESCO’s efforts to make the right to education a reality for all girls and women, please contact us at gender.ed@unesco.org.

More information