“We must make a concerted effort to remove all barriers to education for girls and adolescents”– Yannick Glemarec

Statement by UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Yannick Glemarec, at the World Education Forum 2015 high-level statements and closing ceremony, on 21 May, in Incheon, Republic of Korea.

Date: Friday, May 22, 2015

Deputy Prime Minister, UNESCO Director General, Co-conveners, Excellencies,

Civil society leaders,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to first thank our host, the Government of the Republic of Korea, for its generous hospitality and organization of this landmark event.

UN Women champions a truly transformative post-2015 sustainable development agenda that will change the unequal distribution of power, resources and opportunities.

As repeatedly stressed over the last three days, education is a fundamental part of this change. The success of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda will depend on our ability to achieve the proposed sustainable development goals 4 and 5 and their ambitious targets.

Education empowers girls and women to take full charge of their own lives and actively participate in the development of their communities and countries - as both beneficiaries and agents of change.

However, girls from rural areas, ethnic minorities and indigenous groups continue to have the lowest levels of literacy and education. Studies show that women and girls face intersecting and cumulative forms of disadvantage and discrimination.

To achieve our goal of quality education for all by 2030, we must make a concerted effort to remove all barriers to education for girls and adolescents– such as harmful social norms, early marriages, unsafe schools, unequal distribution of care burden, and poverty.

Gender equality in education goes beyond the classrooms and it goes beyond the issue of parity in education – it is about equality in the quality in education and equality in the socioeconomic opportunities from education. It starts with recognising that education is a fundamental human right for every girl and boy.

As one of the seven co-conveners of World Education Forum 2015 UN Women is extremely pleased that the Incheon Declaration recognises the importance of gender equality in achieving the right to education for all and commits to supporting gender-sensitive policies, planning and learning environments; mainstreaming gender issues in teacher training and curricula; and eliminating gender-based discrimination and violence in schools.

UN Women is committed to work with you all to fulfill this ambitious and vital agenda. 

Thank you.