Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

Areas of work


UNESCO produced a cutting-edge global report entitled Cracking the Code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), mapping the status of girls and women in STEM education and identifying the factors hindering and promoting their participation, achievement and continuation in STEM fields. This report is the first to document the drivers of gender disparity in STEM studies globally. Through this comprehensive research exercise, UNESCO has built a strong knowledge base on the gender gap in STEM education, and provided evidence-based policy recommendations to education ministries and relevant stakeholders.

UNESCO has also generated strategic information at country level through support to comparative assessments of learning in mathematics and science in Latin America, East and Southern Africa, and related research in Asia.


UNESCO promotes and facilitates policy dialogue and experience-sharing among countries. A first on this topic, UNESCO’s International Symposium and Policy Forum, organized in Bangkok, Thailand in 2017, brought together more than 350 participants from over 70 countries across the globe to discuss and share experiences. You can join UNESCO in its advocacy efforts to shift policy and practice by sharing your thoughts using #GirlsCrackTheCode on social media.

Capacity building

UNESCO supports national capacities to deliver gender-responsive STEM education. With financial support from partners, including the Government of Japan, HNA and others donors, and through the CapED Programme, UNESCO delivers capacity-building activities for teachers in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The UNESCO International Bureau of Education promotes gender-responsive STEM education through policy review and training tools such as the Resource Pack for Gender-responsive STEM Education.

Role models and mentors have been found to be particularly effective in tackling gender bias and can offer girls an authentic understanding of STEM studies and careers. UNESCO has expanded related initiatives at country level through innovative partnerships with Intel, Airbus, HNA, L’Oréal, WomEng and other partners. In Kenya, annual Scientific Camps of Excellence for Mentoring Girls in STEM have been identified by the UN as a good practice. In Ghana, UNESCO is organizing STEM Clinics to familiarize girls with STEM, build their skills in these fields and facilitate contact between girls and female STEM professionals who can act as positive role models.