International Women’s Day: Education unions mobilise to energise the global push for gender equality

published 6 March 2020 updated 11 March 2020

2020 marks 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the world’s most progressive blueprint for advancing women’s rights. While considerable progress has been made, gender equality has not been achieved in any country. Education International’s Women in Education initiative aims to energise the fight for women’s rights in classrooms, in unions and in all societies.

The world’s most ambitious plan for gender equality

In 1995 women from all around the globe met in Beijing for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. One hundred and eighty-nine United Nations Member States signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. An Education International delegation, including President Susan Hopgood, was in Beijing and contributed to this historic achievement.

Twenty-five years on, the Beijing Platform for Action is still the world’s most ambitious plan for achieving gender equality. Despite major progress, no country in the world has fulfilled the agenda set in Beijing back in 1995. As Education International’s Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst stated, “we need to do more and we need to do it faster”.

Women in Education

Launched on International Women’s Day, Women in Education is a new Education International initiative that aims to amplify renewed momentum for the women’s rights movement in schools and in unions to commemorate the Beijing Platform for Action.

Explaining the essential role of education unions, Holst said: “As educators, we have the power to teach the critical thinking skills students need to challenge stereotypes and reverse inequalities. As unionists, we have the collective power to make demands on governments and to win.”

Women in Education will celebrate women educators and the critical difference they make to the lives of their students and their communities. It will assess the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, highlighting the contribution of educations systems and unions, and it will look to the future to see what needs to be done to make gender equality a reality across the world.