Statement of the Global Campaign for Education on occasion of the International Women’s Day

On the International Women’s Day, the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is renewing its commitment to fully realise women and girls’ right to education and calls for a focus on and for resources to be invested into challenging, undoing and transforming the social, economic and cultural barriers that prop up gender inequality and undermine the universal right to education.

Gender equality is a human right and a requisite for achieving broader social, political and economic development goals, as stated in the Agenda for Sustainable Development/Education 2030.

Education can play a key role in challenging gender based violence and transforming patriarchal societies into ones that value equality, inclusion and justice. However, this requires a comprehensive approach, recognizing that no one policy or initiative alone will lead to gender transformative education.

Structural inequalities have a significant impact on education. By validating and reproducing gender stereotypes, prejudices and inequalities, and subordinating the diversity of cultural identities to one-fit education models, patriarchy has been deepening discrimination and violence against women, including women with disabilities, who are often victims of multiple forms of exclusion.

According to CEDAW, the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women constitutes the main challenge to identify new education policies.

The Global Campaign for Education works for the full integration of gender equality in its policy frameworks, planning processes and political engagement. GCE also calls on States to ensure that education sector plans, policies, curricula and budgets are gender responsive, including mainstreaming gender equality in teacher education and in-service professional development.

Engagement in policy dialogue on gender equitable financing of education should be a key State obligation: investments in the education of girls, especially those policies that aim to improve their coverage and quality, have a benefit in their lives and in their communities. These positive effects should lead to strengthening the integration of human rights into the domestic law and public policies as well as in the modus operandi of international financial institutions, rather than reducing women’s rights to an instrumental issue.

GCE calls on States to mobilise knowledge and implement policies and programs that eliminate School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) and introduce Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs for both boys and girls, disregarding their sexual identity and gender orientation, while guaranteeing the full right to education of pregnant adolescents and mothers.

It is an unquestionable reality that no country has managed to eliminate the gender gap in all aspects of social life. This means that gender inequality is not an automatic consequence of poverty, since this inequality has been widely documented in developed countries, where the right to education of migrants and refugee women is called into question. It is also known that in contexts of conflict girls and women are targeted in attacks on schools, as well as in refugee camps. Only a systematic approach to women and girls needs and rights, covering emergency situations, can contribute to the solution of the structural violence they face.

The Global Campaign for Education calls for the strengthening of feminist organizations and, in general, civil society organizations, not to falter in their fight for the empowerment of girls and women and to join forces to claim women’s right to free, quality transformative education.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.