UNESCO's role in Gender Equality

Gender equality is central in all efforts to advance human development. Achieving gender-equality is one of the MDGs, as well as the EFA goals, and it is one of UNESCO’s top priorities. By promoting gender equality and equity, UNESCO advocates a new partnership between women and men, girls and boys – a partnership based on mutual respect, dialogue and the sharing of public and private responsibilities. Worldwide experience has shown that by marginalizing women a society locks up half of its potential, and thereby denies itself a chance for genuine development.

Despite the progress made towards gender equality, inequalities remain deep-rooted in legal frameworks. The living conditions of women and girls are undermined by discriminatory practices and cultural attitudes as well as enduring stereotypes.

Given its mandate, UNESCO is expected by the world community, and particularly the UN system, to play a major role in advocating and affirming women's rights, and gender rights more broadly, through its work in education, sciences, culture and information and communication.

The UNESCO Division for Gender Equality (GE) is responsible for ensuring the implementation of UNESCO’s global priority and being an important crosscutting theme, Gender involves UNESCO’s five Major Programmes – Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Communication and Culture.

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