G7 and UNESCO convene International Conference on girls’ and women’s empowerment through education

Paris: The G7 and UNESCO will host the Paris International Conference, Innovating for girls’ and women’s empowerment through education, on 5 July at UNESCO Headquarters, to mobilize support for girls and women through quality education and empowering learning opportunities for life and work.

Policy and decision-makers, including the education ministers of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States), will address this priority concern after the G7 Development and Education joint Ministerial Meeting held the same day, also at UNESCO Headquarters to prepare the August G7 summit Heads of State and Government in Biarritz, France.

From 2.30 to 5.30 pm education ministers from the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger) and Senegal will join their G7 counterparts. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay will open the Conference with France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. They will be joined by a panel of personalities including Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, economist Ester Duflo (France) and football player Nadia Nadim (Afghanistan, Denmark), among others.

French president Emmanuel Macron will deliver closing remarks.

On this occasion, UNESCO will launch a global initiative Her Education, Our Future to galvanise cooperation around three main pillars: better data, better policies and better practices for girls’ and women’s empowerment through education.

In this context, UNESCO will present the 2019 Gender Report “Building bridges for gender equality”, which provides the first ever detailed breakdowns of G7 members’ aid to gender equality in education (under embargo, see below).

Beyond investments, the report calls for greater political and legislative commitment and highlights the importance of tackling negative gender norms and attitudes in society where teaching often remains a female profession with men in charge. In 28 mostly high-income countries, 70% of lower secondary school teachers are female, but women only account for 53% of head teachers.

Beyond school, unequal opportunities persist with technical and vocational programmes that remain male bastions. Only one quarter of those enrolled in engineering and information and communications technology programmes are women. Building on this data, UNESCO will launch a new global interactive Atlas on girls’ and women’s right to education, a monitoring and advocacy tool, that aims to enhance public knowledge of the status of national legislation on the subject.

UNESCO will convene an annual meeting to monitor progress and data collected, with a view to highlight, share and scale up best practices for girls’ and women’s empowerment in and through education.