To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, UIL’s gender focal point, Samah Shalaby, highlights how her colleagues progress gender equality in their work
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), located in Hamburg,
Germany, is one of UNESCO’s eight education institutes. As its name suggests,
UIL’s area of specialization is lifelong learning. Through its capacity-building
activities, knowledge sharing and dissemination of data, the Institute provides
support to UNESCO Member States in the field of lifelong learning with a focus
on learning ecosystems, skills for life and work, and inclusive learning. UIL operates
at regional, national and local levels to facilitate learning across sectors.
Through its partnerships, it works towards helping the global community achieve
the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on inclusive, equitable and
quality education for all.
Sarah Anyang Agbor reflects on the challenges posed by COVID-19 in Africa and asks how lifelong learning can help the continent respond
Lifelong learning has an essential part to
play in shaping the future of our societies. This ambition is reflected in the
African Union’s Agenda 2063 vision of ‘an integrated, prosperous and peaceful
Africa driven by competent citizens able to play in the global arena’. One of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 is to catalyze an education and skills revolution and actively
promote science, technology, research and innovation, with the ultimate aim of
building knowledge, human resources, capabilities and skills for Africa’s
future. By making universal, lifelong access to quality education a reality, it
aims to drive Africa’s economic and technological transformation.
The spread of
COVID-19 across Africa has prompted countries to introduce mitigation measures
such as border closures and social distancing. These interventions are having a
negative impact on already-weak health and education systems, not to mention supply
chains, markets and food systems. The
lockdown has also affected day-to-day social life in African, particularly in rural
areas where means of online communication is limited. Continue reading →
Konstantinos Pagratis reflects on how education can support the global struggle to end poverty
Last week, the world marked the International
Day for the Eradication of Poverty, an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment
to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 – to end poverty in all its forms
everywhere – and to highlight the complex, multidimensional nature of the
challenges we face in achieving it.
Education is not a silver bullet when it comes
to ending poverty, but it has a crucial role to play, both in securing SDG 1
and in fulfilling the commitment made by Member States in signing up to the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind.
UNESCO believes that the fight against poverty
demands the strengthening of individuals’ capacities through education, which
represents a source not only of employment but also of pride, dignity and
agency. As Audrey Azoulay, the Director General of UNESCO, observes, ‘for each
year a girl spends in the classroom, her future income will increase by 10 to
20 per cent’. Continue reading →
As the world marks International Women’s Day, Samah Shalaby asks how we can increase female participation in STEM and challenge the stereotypes that hold women back
Despite ongoing efforts to encourage girls and women to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), they still lag substantially behind their male counterparts. According to UNESCO, women account for only 35 per cent of learners studying STEM subjects in higher education. Within the female student population, only 30 per cent choose STEM-related subjects, with female participation particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 per cent) and engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent).
This article, published to coincide with International Women’s Day, considers the causes of this gender gap and what we can do to close it, drawing on the perspectives of both men and women. Understandably, most studies of this issue focus predominately on the female perspective. However, it is also worth exploring the male understanding of this issue, especially as STEM fields are frequently characterized as male domains, and this may be one of the factors explaining low levels of female participation. I interviewed two men and two woman, all working in the fields of engineering and technology. Continue reading →