The UNGEI story
Paving the path to gender equality in and through education
Rewriting the script for girls’ education and gender equality
Rooted in the movement for girls’ education, the story of UNGEI represents a unique and pioneering global commitment to advancing girls’ education and gender equality through collective action. Now with over two decades behind us, true to our mandate we continue to connect, support and mobilize partners across the world to work collaboratively through our shared agenda. Our mission remains unchanged, and we will not rest until it is accomplished: gender equality in and through education.
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The path to gender equality runs through education
The fight for women’s rights is centuries old, with girls’ education always at the heart of the movement. We stand on the shoulders of generations of powerful women who laid the foundations for our work in striving for gender equality in and through education. While we’ve come a long way, our work is far from done. Entrenched gender inequalities continue to prevent millions of girls from getting the education they need. The need for collective action has never been greater.
“The world needs a coordinated strategy on the scale of the challenge. We need all those with power to change things to come together in an alliance for girls’ education.”
The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative
The early chapters
The first partnership of its kind, UNGEI was launched in April 2000 at the Dakar World Education Forum by the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. Established as one of the United Nations’ flagship initiatives for Education for All, from the start UNGEI played a pioneering role in promoting collective action for girls’ education and gender equality. 13 UN entities, led by UNICEF, came together with the goal of helping governments to deliver on their commitments to girls’ education. In the years that followed the partnership grew to include organizations operating at national and regional level. In 2004, UNGEI’s Global Advisory Committee was launched along with the UNICEF-hosted Secretariat.
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At the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, improving access to quality education for girls is identified as “the most urgent priority.”
The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative is launched at the World Education Forum in Dakar by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The Global Working Group to End School-Related Gender-Based Violence is launched, co-hosted and coordinated by UNGEI.
193 countries commit to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Goal 4.5 to “eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education.”
In the Charlevoix Declaration G7 partners commit to “support efforts to promote gender equality in education systems.”
UNGEI is appointed to coordinate the Gender at the Centre Initiative, launched by the G7 ministers of education and development under the leadership of the French government.
Marking two decades of partnership, the Educate for Equality: UNGEI@20 Forum explores how education can drive progress in the six Generation Equality action areas.
UNGEI at 20
Over the past two decades, UNGEI has played a critical role in galvanizing action for girls’ education and gender equality. Now with a membership of over 30 organizations, we continue to guide, support and hold the international community to account for commitments to gender equality in education as agreed in the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress depends on partnership and so we leverage our collaborative advantage to help set the international agenda and advocate for specific actions to close the gender gap in education and unlock its transformative power.
Working together to put gender at the heart of education
UNGEI is a global convener for gender in education. Here are just some of the ways in which we are working with partners to drive progress for gender equality in and through education.