Education and Gender Equality


This day is celebrated on October 11th to promote the rights of girls and address the unique challenges they face.  This year's theme is Innovate to Educate.

To celebrate this day we have developed a photo essay called Innovating for Girls Education(PPTX 3.2mb) as a PowerPoint presentation.  


Inspiring progress has been made over the last two decades, and more girls are now in school than ever before. However, 31 million girls still lack access to education and continue to be deprived of this most basic right. As enrollment rates continue to rise, completion of school and achievement while at school must be improved upon.  Secondary school education for girls continues to be limited, with conflict and poverty keeping many girls from continuing their education. 


There is overwhelming evidence that secondary education can be a powerful and transformative force, not just for girls but for entire societies. Girls education has the power to vastly improve development outcomes. These include: reducing child and maternal mortality, ending extreme poverty, and achieving equitable growth. By investing in girls, we are supporting them as powerful forces for positive global change.


Education is vital to ensuring a better quality of life for all children. It ends generational cycles of poverty and provides a foundation for sustainable development. It equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to live healthy lifestyles, protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, and helps them take an active role in social, economic and political decision-making. 


Current estimates place the number of out-of-school children at 93 million worldwide. The majority of these children are girls, and almost 80 per cent of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Quality education remains a distant dream for many of the world’s children, even though it is a fundamental human right enshrined in international commitments.


UNICEF works tirelessly to ensure that every child – regardless of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or circumstances – has access to a quality education.

UNICEF supports education programs ranging from pre-school age through to adolescence. Across the world we work with educators, register children, set up school facilities and support curriculum development. We also make a special effort to give girls and boys equal learning opportunities by removing the barriers that prevent girls from attending school.

UNICEF has come up with some unique ways to make education accessible to all children. In Ethiopia, we build migrating schools that follow the pastoral rhythms of a nomadic community. In Afghanistan, where under Taliban rule women and girls were forbidden to attend school, we are setting up literacy centres so that everyone can get the education they deserve. For emergency situations, UNICEF developed its School-in-a-Box kit, a portable classroom with all the supplies needed to hold a class anywhere. 

Read in our Stories from the Field about how UNICEF provides access to education for the children in Pakistan and how the creation of the cartoon character Meena helps to fight against gender and social inequity throughout South Asia.

Join us to educate children around the world.