In Focus: Striving for Gender Equity

Working to end discrimination against girls in Europe and Central Asia

Jeta, 24, and Fabliona, 4, play in a park in Tirana, Albania, on June 8, 2018.
UNICEF/UN0220726/Babajanyan VII Photo


As countries in the Europe and Central Asia Region increasingly transition into knowledge economies, barriers to social inclusion and cohesion – including the inequalities that still suppress the hopes of millions of girls and young women here – must be tackled head-on. Valuing the untapped potential of every girl and every young woman is the key to realizing the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Boys face their own challenges too. Many in Europe and Central Asia are unable to complete secondary school, and face pressures to earn money or migrate for work, leading to high rates of mental health problems. The Region has some of the world’s highest adolescent suicide rates for boys, contributing to lower life expectancy for males in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Engaging boys and young men as vital members in their communities, and as advocates against discrimination and exclusion, can spell positive results for all.

UNICEF promotes opportunities for both girls and boys through changes in policies, services and mindsets. But there remains a pressing need for collective action to prevent gender discrimination that limits the prospects of girls across the Region. UNICEF will continue to work with its partners to ensure that every child can reach her or his full potential, free from the barriers presented by limited expectations and inaccessible or low quality services.

Cover of the report on Gender Euquality in the region.
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
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