Education International
Education International

Unions advocate for gender equality in education at the UN

published 18 February 2011 updated 6 April 2011

Education International, working together with other Global Unions, is ready to bring and share their expertise at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).

“Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work” is the main theme of the 2011 session of the UN CSW. The joint trade union delegation is formed by almost 90 delegates from all regions; out of these, 27 participants from 15 education unions will represent Education International. A joint statement “From the Classroom to the Workplace – Positioning Women for Decent Work in the Knowledge Economy” was submitted to the UN in November 2010. Last year the trade union delegation underlined the importance of the UNCSW main theme at the meeting convened with Ms. Rachel Mayanja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women ( please click here to download the report in PDF). Union voices have been heard. Months later, Monia Cheikh, General Secretary of the EI member organisation FGESRS, in Tunisia, participated at the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on “Gender, Science and Technology” in September 2010, organised by the UN Division on the Advancement of Women as part of the preparatory work for the UNCSW55. Cheikh’s contribution focused on women’s and girls’ participation in science and technology in North Africa ( please click here to download her Expert Paper in PDF). North Africa faces urgent challenges in current times. “We know that education has the power to transform people’s lives, but we also know that we will not reach the target of education for all in all countries by 2015. We are coming to this meeting to demand more investments in girls’ education – it is their right, and it is a necessity,” said Cheikh, Professor of Physics at the University of Tunis; President of the Tunisia Scientific Committee; as well as a member of the Coordination Committee of the North African Women in Education Network. It will be the first time that gender, education and decent work are included as priority themes in the UNCSW working agenda. Global Unions have been building up this momentum over more than 20 years. Joining trade union forces for advocacy, networking and working in solidarity were raised as key aspects for success at the workshop session “Advocacy: Can UN Women close the equality gap?”, organised at EI’s First World Women’s Conference – On the Move for Equality, which took place in January 2011 in Bangkok. Participants discussed the role of the new UN Women agency and developed strategies for making teachers’ voices heard in the international arena. “Promoting equality and encouraging diversity is core business for education, through questioning gender stereotypes, opening doors of access, and building positive, inclusive learning environments. This event allowed us to focus our efforts and work together with a united voice,” said Jan Eastman, EI Deputy General Secretary. Participate and make your voice heard at the UN CSW through the joint trade union blog: http://unioncsw.world-psi.org/