Education International
Education International

UN Director: "Gender-based discrimination in education is more than the issues of access"

published 21 July 2007 updated 21 July 2007

Speaking at the EI Women’s Caucus held today in Berlin, Special Guest Carolyn Hannan, Director of the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, emphasized that the education of women and girls is vital for the transformation of societies, and we must address the growing need to move beyond the issues of access to tackle the other areas of gender-based discrimination in education.

"Issues such as curricula revision, teacher training, school environment and the role of the family and the community need to be addressed in the global advocacy and policy efforts on the education of women and girls," said Hannan.

In her keynote speech at the event, Hannan also highlighted the need to give special attention to science and technology as critical areas for ensuring that women and girls are able to participate and compete in accessing and benefiting from the rapid advancements in these fields.

More than 350 representatives from EI member organisations around the world attended the event, which was held prior to the fifth World Congress of the global teacher union federation.

Chairing the meeting, EI Executive Board Member and Chair of EI's Status of Women Committee, Marilies Rettig, thanked all participants and speakers for their active contribution.

"The caucus was a tremendous success – an important opportunity for women delegates from around the world to hear of the current challenges they face, success realised, and the importance of our collective efforts to ensure equality for all girls and women throughout the world."

EI Deputy General Secretary Jan Eastman presented the fifth Triennial Report on the Status of Women in Education, Unions and Society, which provides an overview of EI policies, activities, priorities and recommendations since 2004, and the global context as it applies to women and gender equality issues. The report also includes the results of the member survey on women and gender equality conducted by EI every three years.

"EI and its member organisations will continue to work for the realisation of the Education for All, including all girls and women in every country on every continent. In the coming months and next year, there are key opportunities for us to step up our efforts to advocate change in the areas of equality and education, such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the joint work within the Council of Global Unions, in which EI plays an active role," she said.

Eastman added that EI plans to hold a world conference on equality and the education of girls in the next triennial period.