Commission on the Status of Women
E/1997/27 CSW - Report of the forty-first session
C. Matters brought to the attention of the Council
3. The attention of the Council is drawn to the text submitted by the
Chairperson of the Commission on the follow-up to agreed conclusions 1996/1
of the Economic and Social Council (see chap. II, para. 178).
1. Agreed conclusions
4. The following agreed conclusions of the Commission are also brought to
the attention of the Council:
Agreed conclusions 1997/4. Education and training of women*
1. There is wide consensus that education and training for girls and
women, in particular, provides high social and economic returns and is a
precondition for the empowerment of women. Education should be aimed at
raising and promoting awareness of the rights of women as human rights.
Governments, national, regional and international bodies, bilateral and
multilateral donors and civil society, including non-governmental
organizations, should continue to make special efforts to reduce the female
illiteracy rate to at least half its 1990 level, with emphasis on rural,
migrant and refugee women, internally displaced women and women with
disabilities, in keeping with the Beijing Platform for Action.16/
2. Governments and all other actors should make special efforts to
achieve the benchmarks set in the Platform for Action of universal access
to basic education and completion of primary education by at least
80 per cent of primary school-age children by the year 2000; close the
gender gap in primary- and secondary-school education by the year 2005;
provide universal primary education in all countries before the year 2015;
and consider providing multilateral and bilateral assistance.
3. Governments that have not yet done so should formulate national
strategies and action plans for implementation of the Platform for Action
that indicate how relevant institutions coordinate action to meet the goals
and targets for education. The strategies should be comprehensive, have
time-bound targets and benchmarks for monitoring, and include proposals for
allocating or reallocating resources for implementation. Mobilization of
additional funds from all sources to enable girls and women, as well as
boys and men, on an equal basis, to complete their education, may also be
4. Donor Governments should strive to meet the agreed target of
0.7 per cent of gross national product for overall official development
assistance as soon as possible; and interested developed and developing
country partners, having agreed on a mutual commitment to allocate, on
average, 20 per cent of official development assistance and 20 per cent of
the national budget to basic social programmes, should take into account a
5. Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible
policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and
programmes, addressing, inter alia, unequal access to educational
opportunities and inadequate educational opportunities, and taking into
account girls and women in especially difficult circumstances. The
education, training and lifelong learning of women should be mainstreamed
in policies at all levels, in equal opportunity policies and in national
human development plans, where they exist. National machinery for the
advancement of women and policy makers in Government, employers'
organizations, labour unions, non-governmental organizations and the
private sector should collaborate to ensure that all policies are
responsive to gender concerns and that women and their organizations
participate in the policy-making process.
6. Integrated policy-making must highlight the interlinkage between
education and training policies, on the one hand, and labour market
policies, on the other hand, with an emphasis on the employment and
employability of women. In order to enhance the employability of women,
basic education and vocational qualifications, in particular in the fields
of science and technology, are of great importance. In view of the high
presence of women in flexible work-time schemes and atypical work, it is
particularly important to facilitate women's participation in "on-the-job
training" so that they can secure their jobs and promote their careers.
7. Consciousness should be raised about the need for a new allocation of
responsibilities within the family, in order to alleviate the extra burden
8. National statistical offices, responsible governmental ministries,
research institutions, women's groups, employers and workers' organizations
should provide women, government, policy makers and training providers with
the best available labour market information. A redesigned, relevant and
up-to-date system of labour market information should provide data
disaggregated by sex on training, including employer-sponsored training,
present employment trends, income and future employment opportunities.
9. Adult education and training programmes should be developed with a
wide focus, incorporating not only literacy and numeracy but also lifelong
learning skills and improved capabilities for generating income. Measures
should be taken to remove barriers to the participation of women in adult
education programmes, such as setting up care structures for children and
10. Women who wish to start or improve a microenterprise or small business
should have access, not only to financial support services, but also to
skills-based training to assist them in the successful management of their
11. Governments should meet their responsibilities for providing education
and training. Government policies should ensure that different actors in
the field of education and training provide and promote equal opportunities
for women and men. Governments should promote cooperation among the public
and private sectors, including non-governmental organizations, labour
unions, employers' organizations and cooperatives, to make the process of
training relevant, efficient and effective. Citizens should help to
mobilize governmental and non-governmental efforts, benefiting from the
important role that the media can play, to achieve gender equality in
education, training and employment. Employers' and workers' organizations
should play a critical role in the provision of professional training at
the national and local levels. Governments should be ultimately
responsible for developing strategies that ensure women's participation in
the provision of education and training, especially for women in remote
areas or with social, economic, cultural and physical constraints.
12. Educational planners and policy makers, Governments and other actors
should develop programmes in education, technical training and lifelong
learning that recognize these components as integral parts on a continuum.
This implies that knowledge and skills acquired in formal as well as non-
formal, out-of-school education, community activities and traditional
knowledge are valued and recognized. The programmes should take a holistic
approach, ensuring that women enjoy equality throughout the process in a
new learning culture involving individuals, enterprises, organizations and
society at large.
13. Educational planners and policy makers should give renewed importance
to education in mathematics, science and technology for girls and women.
In order to develop the skills required, women need to have full access to
education in science and technology at all levels, including the use of
modern technologies such as information technology, to vocational training
and to lifelong learning. Using a wide range of strategies and modalities,
efforts should be made - for instance, through the development of
information services and professional guidance for girls and women - to
promote girls' and women's participation in fields where they are under-
represented, such as science, engineering and technology, and to encourage
them to participate actively in the development of new technologies, from
design to application, monitoring and evaluation.
14. The development of gender-sensitive teaching materials, classroom
practices and curricula and of awareness-raising and regular gender
training for teachers is a prerequisite for breaking down gender
stereotypes and developing non-discriminatory education and training aimed
at the physical and intellectual development of girls and boys. Teacher
training is an essential component in the transmittal of gender-sensitive
programmes for eliminating the differential behavioural expectations of
girls and boys that reinforce the division of labour by gender. Techniques
for improving teachers' capabilities to deliver gender-sensitive
instruction need to be researched and widely disseminated in order to
support the development of multicultural, gender-sensitive curricula in all
areas of instruction.
15. The recruitment, training, working conditions and the status of
teachers, in particular, of women teachers, must be improved, and gender-
sensitive training for teachers, teacher trainers, school administrators
and planners must be developed. Positive action programmes should be
stimulated in order to overcome the under-representation of women in
16. The use of instruments available to ensure equality in education and
training should be promoted - instruments such as research, information
campaigns, refresher courses for teachers, development of gender-sensitive
teaching materials, positive action measures and gender-impact assessments.
They focus on a variety of actors: girls and boys, parents, teachers,
school administrators and policy makers.
17. Governments should provide increased access to non-discriminatory
education and training and create safe, enabling environments in order to
retain girls and women in schools and eliminate gender disparities in
school attendance at all levels of education, including the higher levels.
Safety in schools and during extracurricular activities should be promoted
by school authorities, parents and administrative personnel. All actors
should join efforts by providing school feeding programmes, transport and
boarding schools, when necessary. The contribution of non-governmental
organizations to all fields of education and, in particular, to lifelong
learning is of importance.
18. Governments and all actors should recognize the need for and provide
gender-sensitive early childhood education, especially to those groups
under difficult circumstances, and should assure the lifelong learning of
quality education for the girl child.
19. Governments and all social actors should promote non-formal education
programmes and information campaigns to encourage adult women's lifelong
20. The bodies and specialized agencies of the United Nations system,
within their existing mandates, should compile and disseminate information
on best practices or strategies for retaining women and girls at all levels
21. Women's studies should be supported and their curricula and research
should be shared among educational institutions and women's organizations
to provide role models, publicize women's contributions to their societies'
advancement, and develop a foundation for gender-equality education and
22. The Secretary-General, taking into account his overall responsibility
for mainstreaming a gender perspective, should continue to analyse and
widely disseminate to Governments and non-governmental organizations,
through Women 000 and other publications in the official United Nations
languages, information on the education and training of women and girls as
part of the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women.
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Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright © 1999 United Nations