Towards an equal future: Reimagining girls’ education through STEM

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

In Herat, Afghanistan, Somaya Faruqi (centre), 17, leader of the ‘Afghan Dreamers’ girls robotics team, shows how to assemble a bag ventilator device.


The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most comprehensive global agenda for girls and women to date. We see today technological advances that we could only dream about 25 years ago, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas. Yet, despite progress, gender equality continues to be elusive. Some areas essential for the achievement of women’s empowerment, such as STEM, still lack women’s participation.

This document seeks to call attention to the potential of STEM education to transform gender norms in the education system, to improve quality learning opportunities for girls, and to highlight key actions that can accelerate girls’ transition between education and technical expert jobs in STEM industries. Critically, STEM education also has the potential to contribute to personal empowerment, transformation of communities and nations, and building economies for the future.

The evidence presented here provides a foundation for a call to action for global, national and regional actors. All stakeholders are called to work together to dismantle the barriers that girls face to develop the skills they need to become users, shapers and creators of scientific knowledge and new technologies. This will allow girls to choose the skills they want to learn and how to apply them, empowering them to contribute to a gender-equal world.


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