The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honours outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education. It is the first UNESCO Prize of this nature and is unique in showcasing successful projects that improve and promote the educational prospects of girls and women and in turn, the quality of their lives.
Funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Prize is conferred annually to two laureates and consists of an award of US $50,000 each to help further their work in the area of girls’ and women’s education. The Director-General of UNESCO awarded the Prize for the first time in 2016.
Established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, the Prize directly contributes to the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda, particularly SDG 4 on education and 5 on gender equality. It also supports UNESCO’s global priorities included in the Medium-term Strategy 2014-2021 and the Gender Equality Action Plan 2014-2021 (GEAP II), as well as the UNESCO Strategy for Gender Equality in and through Education (2019-2025).
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in a context where girls and women have been disproportionately impacted by nationwide school closures, ensuring that girls and women continue learning must be a priority. UNESCO estimates that over 11 million girls and young women may not return to school following the impact of the pandemic. This is in addition to the 128 million girls who were already out of school before the pandemic.
- The Prize awards US$ 50,000 annually to two laureates making outstanding efforts in favour of girls’ and women’s education.
- Governments of UNESCO Member States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO are now invited to nominate up to three individuals, institutions or organizations who have made strong, innovative contributions in favour of girls’ and women’s education.
- Interested candidates are invited to contact their country’s National Commission for UNESCO/Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, or an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO for more information.
The two Prize laureates will be selected by UNESCO’s Director‐General on the basis of recommendations made by the independent International Jury of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, consisting of five experts from all geographical regions.
The nominations will only be considered if the project/programme:
- has a clear focus on advancing girls’ and women’s education, and the promotion of gender equality in and through education, and contributes to one or more of the five priority areas of the Prize:
- Participation: Supporting girls to transition from primary education to lower‐secondary education and to complete full basic education
- Literacy: Supporting adolescent girls and young women to acquire literacy skills
- Environment: Supporting the creation of a gender‐responsive and safe teaching‐learning environment
- Teachers: Engaging teachers to be change agents with gender‐responsive teaching attitudes and practices
- Skills: Supporting girls and women to acquire knowledge/skills for life and work
- has already been running for at least two years; and
- shows evidence that it may be replicable, scalable and/or provide significant learning potential for initiatives in other contexts
Once it has passed the basic eligibility requirements, the project/ programme of the candidate will be assessed by the Jury based on the following three criteria:
- Impact: The project/programme’s impact should be qualitatively and/or quantitatively measureable, and deliver tangible results relative to the invested resources. This can include demonstrable changes in:
- attitudes, beliefs and practices in favour of girls’ and women’s education;
- girls’ educational participation, attendance, completion and learning outcomes; and/or
- removing barriers to girls’ and women’s education, such as gender bias and stereotypes.
- Innovation: The project/programme stimulates, and/or draws on, innovative approaches advancing girls’ and women’s education. This includes new ways of working where “business as usual” has failed, and transformative “out‐of‐the‐box” thinking and actions. The project/programme can demonstrate innovation in terms of:
- the themes covered;
- the methodology employed;
- the channels used to create change for girls’ and women’s education;
- the specific knowledge mobilized about gender‐related aspects of girls’ and women’s education in order to elaborate innovative solutions; and/or
- other aspects, such as tools and products advancing girls’ and women’s education.
- Sustainability: The project/programme has taken steps, ideally from its design or implementation phases, to ensure it will have a lasting impact on girls’ and women’s education beyond the project lifecycle. This may include efforts to ensure the:
- continuation of local action in favour of girls’ and women’s education;
- institutionalization of approaches, tools and products, to advance girls’ and women’s education;
- sustainable ways to ensure stakeholders’ mobilization; and/or
- generation of further initiatives to advance girls’ and women’s education as a result of the project/programme.
For more information, visit https://en.unesco.org/news/2021-unesco-prize-girls-and-womens-education-now-accepting-nominations