Gender equality in education is a basic right and a prerequisite to build inclusive societies. Although notable progress has been made over the last 20 years, 16 million girls will never set foot in a classroom (UNESCO Institute for Statistics).
The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honours outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education. It is the first UNESCO Prize of this nature and is unique in showcasing successful projects that improve and promote the educational prospects of girls and women and in turn, the quality of their lives.
Funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Prize is conferred annually to two laureates and consists of an award of USD 50,000 each to help further their work in the area of girls’ and women’s education. The Director-General of UNESCO awarded the Prize for the first time in 2016.
Established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, the Prize directly contributes to the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda, particularly SDG goals 4 on education and 5 on gender equality. It also supports UNESCO’s global priorities included in the Medium-term Strategy 2014-2021 and the Gender Equality Action Plan 2014-2021 (GEAP II).