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.
To support education sector responses to early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) while supporting the continuing education of adolescent mothers, UNESCO in Eastern and Southern Africa has carried out a 10-country situation analysis on EUP View More
To support education sector responses to early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) while supporting the continuing education of adolescent mothers, UNESCO in Eastern and Southern Africa has carried out a 10-country situation analysis on EUP (conducted 2017; published 2018), the findings and recommendations of which will inform follow up country level actions for policy, programmes and advocacy. UNESCO also participates in the Indicator Working Group for the thematic indicators of SDG4, which among other aspects, continues to identify and define indicators for country reporting against the SDG thematic indicator 4.a.2 – Safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments, ensuring that data is not only sex-disaggregated but also to ensure that reporting captures the gendered dimensions of violence in learning spaces.
Gender Studies Research Network in China: UNESCO launched a project to look at policies and programs through a gender lens, identifying how they impact women and men, and then proposing policy and programmatic recommendations to address the gaps and challenges. This Gender Studies Research Network which brings together policy and decision makers, researchers and academics, and NGO leaders aims to address issues of violence against women and girls in a wider perspective.
In December 2009, UNESCO’s Office in Beijing, along with the UN country team, launched a project on “Preventing and Responding to Domestic Violence in China through a Multi-Sectoral Approach”. The project is supported by the UN Trust Fund and coordinated a host of UN agencies and national partners. UNESCO is taking the lead role to conduct baseline surveys in identifying risks and needs in prevention and response to domestic violence; and developing a pilot program for training community leaders in prevention of violence against women.Hide
UNESCO developed a global review of school-related gender based violence and conducted a regional review on the topic the Asia Pacific region. UNESCO also commissioned five country studies on the links between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and conducted a regional workshop on the topic in Tanzania (material available online).Hide
UNESCO’s Culture Sector compiles and maintains a trafficking statistics database focusing on Asia and other regions, available on-line at:http://126.96.36.199/culture/WebTraffickingV2/. It has linked databases with information related to trafficking, rates of HIV/AIDS incidence, interventions and their coverage, and the distribution of at-risk populations (migration, population in sex work) to discover, record and map related trends.Hide
In January 2006, UNESCO, in collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs, established a Palestinian Women’s Research and Documentation Center. The first of its kind in an Arab country, outside North Africa, this institution serves as both a documentation and resource centre and as an observatory. It is devoted to research on gender equality and human rights with an emphasis on women’s rights legislation, the causes and consequences of poverty among women, violence against women and women’s participation in political life.Hide
UNESCO (Social and Human Science Section) undertakes research on the causes and social structures that foster violence against women. As part of its research activities for the ten-year review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, UNESCO produced a conceptual framework for qualitative and quantitative information on women’s empowerment. One of the 7 sets of indicators pertains to women’s bodily integrity and health, including data on the prevalence of female genital mutilation; sexual abuse of women; and physical abuse against women by an intimate partner.Hide
In the framework of its project to fight human trafficking in Africa, UNESCO carries out research on factors leading to human trafficking in 6 pilot countries (Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa) and proposes concrete recommendations.Hide
The UNESCO Office in Beirut launched in November 2010, in Lebanon, a study on school-related gender-based violence, expected to be completed in December 2011. The study is funded by the Government of Italy, and implemented within the framework of the project “Supporting Gender Equality in Education in Lebanon”, in close collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education. UNESCO continued to conduct research on violence against women and its activities to fight human trafficking in Africa.Hide
UNDP and UNESCO supported the Gender Studies Institute (GSI) based at the Kabul University in Afghanistan to conduct a multi-province research on the nature and forms of gender-based violence within educational institutions in Afghanistan. The research was conducted in 2009 in three Afghan Universities (Kabul, Mazar, and Herat): (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001899/189969e.pdf).The findings and recommendations of the research were presented in October 2010 during an advocacy workshop with the Gender Studies Institute, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health. The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness on gender-based violence among stakeholders and to adopt a Declaration with concrete recommendations to address gender-based violence.Hide