Her Power: education to advance gender equality

European Union side event at CSW68

Written by Tania Gómez Herazo (Soroptimist International of Belgium – Club Aalst) 

 Education and gender equality  

Many events at CSW68 stressed that education’s role in escaping abusive situations and eradicating  

Poverty is crucial.  António Guterres, the Secretary General at the UN, highlighted during his speech the importance of education for women’s financial independence and decision-making power. 

Girls’ education and gender equality in schools 

There are shocking statistics on girls’ education, including 129 million girls out of school and  75% of new HIV infections in girls and young women. UNICEF has made available reports which  explains these figures in detail. This underlines the importance of investing in girls’ education to break the cycle of poverty, improve their health and nutritional outcomes, and contribute towards peace. 

Education is crucial, but just getting girls into school is not enough; gender-transformative education is necessary to challenge harmful gender norms and stereotypes. We need collective action to overcome barriers to gender equality in education, here lies the power of young feminist activists and civil society. The feminist network for gender transformative education aims to bring activists, organizations, and governments together to advocate for more investment, research, and action to ensure all learners have a safe, gender-equal education. 

Gender inequality in education and career choices 

In the EU, girls and young women tend to leave school earlier than boys and young men but perform better at school overall. 

There is an unquestionable gender gap in digital skills, on average 42% of young women and 21% of men graduate from certain fields, and 90% of ICT specialists are men. The European Digital Strategy aims to address the gender digital divide by setting targets for basic digital skills and ICT specialists, with a focus on encouraging girls’ participation in STEM studies. 

It is vital to addressing gender-based violence and ensuring equal pay for work of equal value to promote gender equality. Also, the need to share data is more pressing than ever to help address the trend of gender inequality. 

Gender-transformative education backlash  

In the current context of a global gender backlash and democratic erosion, our focal solution and biggest tool should be education. The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Aashka Coalition are working on advocacy and inter-generational engagement to address these issues.  

We are facing a tremendous backlash against gender equality and human rights and need to find ways to collectively increase the push for these rights at the grassroots level. Therefore, gender transformative education is a critical element in linking work on gender equality and human rights, and finding chinks in the armour of those who oppose these rights. 

Gender equality in education and youth empowerment 

EU delegates commend organizing youth meetings, highlighting education’s role in gender equality and addressing social norms. It was suggested that there is a requirement to integrate gender equality considerations in education to combat gender-based violence and promote inclusive learning. Attention should also be focused on the importance of intersectionality in education, highlighting gender and ethnic minority considerations in teacher training programs. 

Promoting inclusive education for girls 

It is urgent to work on inclusive education practices, starting with early childhood education. 

Inclusive education strategies for marginalized girls require targeted approaches, measurable goals, and creating safe and inclusive workplaces. 



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