Innovating Empowerment for Girls and Women through Education

The G7 and UNESCO hosted the Paris International Conference on 5 July 2019 Innovating to empower girls and women through education. Call for mobilization for girls and women through quality education and learning opportunities for daily life and work.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO opened the conference and was followed by:Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of National Education and Youth, Republic of France; Jean-Yves le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs; Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education G7 Ministers of Education, and many other personalities.

Innovating to empower girls and women through education
There must be "inclusive" schools where you can focus on your education without fearing for your life.

Minister Jean Michel Blanquer recalled that 130 million girls do not go to school, and that it is necessary:

  1. Raise students' awareness of the culture of equality
  2. Train all staff in equality issues
  3. Passing on the culture of equality to young people
  4. Combating gender-based and sexual violence and cyber harassment
  5. Move towards a greater diversity of orientation courses 

Minister Jean-Yves le Drian: with a strong speech recalled that feminist diplomacy is the fight against the non-enrollment of girls in school The G7 puts equality first. France will work closely with UNESCO, UNICEF and UN Creation of a Counterpart Fund with UNICEF to combat forced marriage of girls. The French government will double the donations; Creation of a performance-based payment mechanism to create the infrastructure and security necessary for girls' monthly hygiene.

Early marriage

Many topics were discussed, all related to our Zonta mission, including a particularly moving presentation on early marriage by Dr. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda. This human rights lawyer is the Executive Director of the Rozaria Memorial Trust, an organization she founded in memory of her late mother. She has been an African Union Goodwill Ambassador to end child marriage since 2014.

She says: You have to call a spade a spade:
  • there are too many intolerances
  • This is a violation of a human right
  • Awareness is not enough - It takes courage
  • The Marriage Act must be reaffirmed
  • We must give a second chance and put an end to corruption

Africa is rich, it can get out of poverty, all you have to do is buy one less helicopter, one less Mercedes and stop paying bribes.

Aminata Minata, an M1 student in Bamako and a well-known activist for girls' rights in Mali, calls for equal opportunities and demands a family grant to enable families to send their daughters to school. She talks about the Sahel "Global Book," a digital textbook for open education. It calls for an end to violence in all schools, both public and private.

Leading activist: Malala Yousafzai

We had the great honor of listening to Malala Yousafzai, a leading activist for girls' education. Malala was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, making her (at 17) the youngest person to win this prize. A brutal assassination attempt against the young Pakistani activist for girls' education inspired the creation of the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls' Right to Education in 2012. As part of the Global Partnership for Girls' and Women's Education "Better Life, Better Future It solemnly calls on all political, social and cultural decision-makers in the world to achieve the enrollment of girls in school!

France places equality at the center of its thinking

French President Emmanuel Macron concluded the conference with a vigorous speech with an agenda for progress and commitments. He calls for international mobilization for girls' education "We want concrete results."

The work of the G7 will be continued by the Biarritz Assembly in August and should make it possible. In particular, to double funding under the Sahel Alliance for girls' education. To mobilize, on the basis of what has been agreed with UNICEF, with the creation of a counterpart fund for girls' schooling in the Sahel - For €1 collected by UNICEF, the French government commits to pay an additional €1 between July and December 2019 - and France will ensure that the other G7 countries can join this initiatives which have to be approved:

  • To record in Biarritz massive support for the fund of Dr. Mukwege and Nadia Murad for girls and women victims of sexual violence in conflicts
  • To mobilize G7 members to create concrete women's entrepreneurship initiatives - Support the battle for empowerment with initiatives to set up a fund for women's entrepreneurship in Africa
  • A development model in which France believes, it is necessary to rally all initiatives and above all to have a precise objective in favor of gender equality, particularly in education.

ZIUN TEAM: Lydia Chaillou - Elke Farny - Ursula Bouchard NGO-UNESCO PARIS