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.
In October 2016, UNESCO participated in the first US symposium on “Technology and Women: Protection and Peril” organized at the Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center on Family Violence, University of Pennsylvania. The Symposium discussed inter View More
In October 2016, UNESCO participated in the first US symposium on “Technology and Women: Protection and Peril” organized at the Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center on Family Violence, University of Pennsylvania. The Symposium discussed inter alia the connectivity across offender's behavior, effects on victims, criminal justice intervention and ethical issues related to technology and violence against women. UNESCO's contribution was entitled “Through the Magnifying Glass: Technology and Violence Against Women” and it addressed the issue how Internet, mobile phones and social media can magnify gender inequalities in many different ways and how we can take action to magnify the potential of technology to empower women.Hide
UN Women collaborated with UNESCO to develop a guidance toolkit on prevention of and response to violence against women and girls in the educational sector: “Global Guidance on School-related Gender-based violence” in December 2016 ( View More
UN Women collaborated with UNESCO to develop a guidance toolkit on prevention of and response to violence against women and girls in the educational sector: “Global Guidance on School-related Gender-based violence” in December 2016 (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf). UN Women continues its collaboration with UNESCO to develop similar toolkits to engage the media and sporting organizations in prevention of and response to VAW. These technical documents provide key information to governments, policy-makers, practitioners and civil society who wish to take concrete action against violence against women and girls. It introduces approaches, methodologies, tools and resources that have shown positive results.Hide
On 14 April 2016, representative of UNESCO participated in the Round table “Trafficking in Human Beings” with a presentation entitled “Gender Perspectives of Trafficking in Human Beings”. Although trafficking affects both View More
On 14 April 2016, representative of UNESCO participated in the Round table “Trafficking in Human Beings” with a presentation entitled “Gender Perspectives of Trafficking in Human Beings”. Although trafficking affects both men and women, women and men are affected in different ways with respect to the types of trafficking they are subjected to, the forms of abuse they suffer from and the consequences thereof, women being subject more often to violence and sexual abuse. The discussion urged for an integrated and multi-sectoral approach.Hide
In the area of education, UNESCO has produced peace education kits and training in non-violent conflict resolution, which also aim to reduce violence against women (e.g: Education for a Culture of Peace in a Gender Perspective (training manual) in English (2001) and French (2003). UNESCO seeks to promote gender equality in primary and secondary education through curriculum reform. On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UNESCO organized an International Round Table “School related gender-based violence (SRGBV): role and responsibility of stakeholders” (Nov 2006). As a follow up to the conference, SRGBV is being integrated in the work undertaken in Western and Central Africa in the context of UN Girls’ Education Initiative. A module on SRGBV was added to the training of trainers guide developed by UNESCO on the mainstreaming of gender in education systems for the 6 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (CEDEAO). In the area of communication and information, UNESCO created a digital library, in Kazakh and Russian, in Kazakhstan. The library gives women free access to databases which contain more than 1000 legal documents related to human rights issues. In the area of culture, and within the context of its project “Culturally appropriate approaches to HIV/AIDS”, UNESCO is undertaking activities to raise public awareness on traditional attitudes and practices that are harmful to women’s health or put them at risk of infection, such as domestic violence (notably in Central Asia and the Caucasus). UNESCO works in rural areas in Kyrgyzstan to raise awareness about bride abduction among rural communities as a violation of women’s rights. UNESCO participates in international and regional conferences/campaigns, including the Celebration of International Women’s Day 2007 and 2005 at UNESCO Headquarters, which focused respectively on “Women peacemakers” (http://www.unesco.org/women/iwd2007) and “Building a More Secure Future for Women Reporters” , focusing on the role of the media in the elimination of violence against women. UNESCO also coordinates International Years and distributes Prizes and Awards that acknowledge men’s and women’s contribution to the fight against violence in all its forms, including violence against women. UNESCO develops gender-sensitive information, education and communication materials and radio programmes on violence against women, such as “STOP This Violence!” in Kenya, and minority language radio programming for trafficking prevention in Mekong region, in China).Hide
Within the framework of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UNESCO organized the following conferences and exhibitions: - ”Under the Wings of the Butterflies”; - "Voices on the rise: Afghan Women Making the News”, as well as the projection of the film "Girls on the air", both having a look into the lives of Afghan women; -“Water, women and sustainable development in Africa", organized in cooperation with the French association « Femmes de Demain » and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), addressing the challenges that women face and the role they play in relation to water resources management, water governance and development.Hide
Within the framework of the commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNESCO Doha Office with the collaboration of the Qatar Foundation for Child & Woman Protection organized a workshop on “The International Conventions for the Eradication of Violence and Discrimination against Women & their Reflection on the Qatari Legislations”.Hide
In November 2008, UNESCO Addis Ababa organized a workshop for film-makers, development workers and media professionals during the 3rd Ethiopian International Film Festival in order to identify strategies for promoting greater awareness and positive behavioural change on HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence/discrimination and climate change through the medium of popular films. Several UNESCO Offices, including those in Montevideo, Brasilia and Almaty, included violence against women as a focus in their activities.Hide
UNESCO worked on a campaign to fight human trafficking in Africa. The seventh session of the UNESCO Forum on Gender Equality, organized in collaboration with the Permanent Delegation of the United States of America to UNESCO, was held in October 2009. The Round Table, on the theme “Beijing: 15 Years After”, explored the progress which has been made in the twelve critical areas of action of the Beijing Platform for Action.Hide
In November 2009, UNESCO’s Office in Beijing sponsored the Institute of Anthropology in the Renmin University of China to initiate an advocacy forum and campaign to mark the “End Violence against Women Day”. The project provided a platform for experts from the government and civil society organizations to discuss domestic violence and raised awareness among university students on the issue through a variety of campaigns, such as debate and drama.Hide