and Training of Women and the Girl-child
Sponsored by UNESCO and UNICEF
10 January � 4 February 2005
Moderated by UNESCO
The actions needed from governments and their partners
to promote, protect and implement women’s and girls’ right
to education are outlined under two Strategic Objectives
of the Beijing Platform for Action: Strategic Objective
B: Education and Training of Women and Strategic Objective
L: the Girl-child.
The importance of gender parity and equality in primary
and secondary education and of women’s empowerment
was further emphasised in 2000 with the adoption of the
Education for All Goals. (Dakar
Framework for Action and the Millennium
Development Goals Millennium Development Declaration).
According to the 2003/4
EFA Global Monitoring Report, Gender and Education
for All: The Leap to Equality, and The
State of the World's Children 2004 - Girls, Education
and Development many countries are at a serious
risk of not achieving the goal of gender parity by
2005 endangering at the same time the possibility of
fulfilling the gender equality goal by 2015. The year
2005 will, thus, be a milestone year in terms of creating
further momentum for reaching gender parity that constitutes
the necessary stepping-stone for creating wider opportunities
for gender equality in societies around the world.
The five-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action,
otherwise known as the Beijing
+5 outcome document adopted by the twenty-third special
session of the General Assembly, highlights achievements
and obstacles to implementing the Beijing Declaration
and Platform for Action. These are:
- Increased awareness is one of the most valuable means
of achieving gender equality and the empowerment of
women and girls.
- Increased enrolment and retention for girls in primary
and, to a lesser extent, secondary and tertiary education.
- Increased participation of girls and women in non-formal
education and enhanced attendance in science and technology.
- Increased attention to the health of the girl child,
including the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents.
- Improvements in legislative reforms, in an increasing
number of countries, to protect girls against sexual
abuse, female genital mutilation, involvement of children
in armed conflict, the sale of children, child prostitution
and child pornography.
- Measures undertaken in all regions to initiate alternative
education and training systems to reach women and girls
in indigenous communities and other disadvantaged and
- Persistence of poverty, discriminatory attitudes
towards women and girls, negative cultural attitudes
and practices against girls, as well as negative stereotyping
of girls and boys.
- Lack of political will and commitment and insufficient
allocation of financial and human resources to improve
educational infrastructure and undertake educational
- Insufficient national mechanisms to implement policies
and programmes for the girl child.
- Persisting gender discrimination and bias, including
in teacher training, persistent use of gender stereotypes
in educational materials and a gender insensitive environments
that are not conducive to learning.
- Inappropriate design and application of structural
adjustment policies, which has had a particularly severe
impact on the education sector (e.g. declining investment
in education infrastructure).