The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. UNESCO is working to create the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture.
At its 197th session, UNESCO Executive Board adopted the Roadmap for UNESCO’s programme on preventing and addressing school-related gender-based violence (197 EX/SR.8)
In its Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2021, UNESCO accords priority to gender equality in all its fields of competence supported by a dual approach, gender specific programming and gender mainstreaming, in Member States and within the Organization. UNESCO is fully engaged in pursuing this commitment through concrete, substantive programmes and initiatives in all its fields of competence (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002272/227222e.pdf) as captured in an organization-wide “Priority Gender Equality Action Plan for 2014-2021”.
UNESCO primarily addresses the following types of violence against women: inter-personal violence in and out of schools; trafficking in women; women in conflict and post-conflict situations (including the use of rape as a weapon of war). Activities cover various fields of education; the natural sciences; the social and human sciences; culture; and communications and information.
UNESCO has a two-pronged approach to violence against women:
1) A behavioural approach. Through education and with the help of ICTs, UNESCO seeks to build commitment to peace and non-violence in the minds of men and women. This includes the promotion of gender-sensitive human rights education and non-violent conflict resolution approaches. UNESCO’s Human Rights Education programme seeks to bring about a profound reform of education in order to transform attitudes and behaviours that condone violence. It touches upon curriculum development, in-service and pre-service training, textbooks, methodology, classroom management, and the organization of the education system at all levels.
2)A structural approach. Notably through its Social and Human Sciences and Culture Sector programmes, UNESCO looks at the structural causes of violence against women and seeks to encourage holistic and culturally appropriate policy responses towards their elimination.
UNESCO created a digital library in Kazakhstan. There is also an online legal service which answers questions related to domestic violence, marriage and family, gender policy issues, and maternity.Hide
On occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - 25 November 2016, UNESCO set up an Orange Zone at Headquarters and conducted a rich social media campaign on the effects of climate change in exacerbating View More
On occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - 25 November 2016, UNESCO set up an Orange Zone at Headquarters and conducted a rich social media campaign on the effects of climate change in exacerbating violence against women and girls - a key theme for this year’s campaign on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Throughout the day, badges, informative postcards, posters and UNESCO publications were made available to all staff and visitors. Four visually striking factographs were released, highlighting the links between climate change and violence against women. The campaign disseminated via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reached over 758,000 people around the world. Broadcasting live from the Orange Zone via Facebook Live, the Director of the Division of Gender Equality discussed the significance of this Day as the UNESCO Globe was lit in orange. The Director also highlighted the importance of raising awareness on violence against women in the context of climate change, noting the myriad of ways in which climate change disproportionately affects women, whether via natural disasters or climate-induced displacement causing heightened sexual trafficking, or the search for water and firewood resulting in increased rapes. Over 1,300 people have watched the video.Hide
In June 2009, UNESCO held a policy dialogue in Mombasa on strategies for combating violence against women, as part of the second Forum of Ministers of Women’s Affairs from the Great Lakes Region. This policy dialogue aimed at discussing research recommendations in order to establish/strengthen specific national plans of action, and to create appropriate national mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of national measures taken for combating violence against women, inter alia, in the field of legislation, prevention, victim assistance and rehabilitation.Hide
To address institutionalized violence faced by adolescent mothers in the education sector who face discrimination on the basis of early and unintended pregnancy, UNESCO supported several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa (South Africa, View More
To address institutionalized violence faced by adolescent mothers in the education sector who face discrimination on the basis of early and unintended pregnancy, UNESCO supported several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa (South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Uganda, Tanzania, Swaziland) at various stages in the review and development of national policies on prevention and management of learner pregnancy and reintegration of school aged mothers. Support included the conduct of assessments and data review, through drafting of policy content and via national stakeholder consultations. Further support for Early and Unintended Pregnancy policy advocacy and implementation based on existing sector policies was provided in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Support for China’s elaboration of its Family Violence law (adopted in 2016)
Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM): UNESCO helps Member States to adopt, review or strengthen legal frameworks on media from a gender equality perspective, to ensure inter alia prohibition of incitement to hatred and any form of gender-based stereotypes and violence within the media. Equally important is that media regulators and public service media carry out yearly assessments of the implementation of gender equality policy in media, and that media regulators effectively use accountability mechanisms in cases of violation of gender equality in media. UNESCO may also help Member States adapt GSIM to become national indicators, and regularly monitor and evaluate gender equality at national level, based on those indicators. For instance, 25 national broadcasters across Francophone Africa now have gender plans as do 2 national media regulators.
The UNESCO Communication and Information Sector conducted numerous activities in post-conflict countries, where an emphasis was put on women’s involvement in conflict resolution, peace-building, and reconstruction through better access to information. In this context, safety training for women journalists against violence and specific threats to foster security of women journalists in conflict and post conflict situations is strongly supported. UNESCO is following up on the development of its project on school-related gender-based violence in six post conflict countries in Africa.Hide
UNESCO developed a project on school-related gender-based violence in six post conflict countries in Africa. This project is a follow up to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.Hide
In implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, UNESCO, in collaboration with partners from the University of Hull (UK) and the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (South Africa), launched a research programme on women's rights for peace and security in post conflict democracies in Africa. The aim of this program is to develop policy recommendations that address obstacles, such as violence against women, to women’s full participation in and contribution to peace and security in post conflict countries in Africa. UNESCO organized, in 2005, a consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, engaging a wide range of stakeholders. It focused on the status of women in the Great Lakes region of Africa, covering also violence against women, especially sexual violence.Hide
UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector has undertaken a programme of research on women's rights for peace and security in post conflict democracies in Africa. Researchers from 11 countries of the Great Lake Region, Sierra Leone and South Africa submitted papers on violence against women and the relationship between women’s human rights, peace and security in post conflict context, as well as recommendations for the way forward to be addressed to policy- and decision-makers.Hide
UNESCO continued its activities in post-conflict countries, including activities on women’s involvement in conflict resolution, peace-building, and reconstruction through better access to information.Hide