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In Solidarity with Girls: An intergenerational dialogue series


NEW YORK, 29 May 2020 In response to widespread school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this month we are joining forces with the UK government and partner organisations to launch a series of intergenerational dialogues on gender and education in crisis. Through this series, members of the Platform for Girls’ Education and other high-level leaders are engaging with youth-led and youth-serving networks as partners to understand how school closures are impacting young people’s lives as well as the innovative ways in which they are responding to this crisis.


At the peak of school closures, UNESCO reported that more than 1.5 billion learners, including 743 million girls, across 192 countries were out of school. Previous health emergencies demonstrate that girls are disproportionately affected in times of crisis and least likely to return to school in the aftermath.  Yet for many girls, school is a lifeline, providing essential health information, nutrition and protection from exploitation and violence.


Now more than ever, collective action is needed in response to the global health crisis to avoid reversing progress made in girls’ education.  As gender inequality in education worsens and intersects with other inequalities, including those relating to income and disability, we must ensure that education response and recovery plans target girls. To build a more resilient, gender equal world, it is also critical that girls and young women are engaged as partners in this work and their leadership strengthened through the process.


Engaging with youth as partners in the COVID-19 education response

Each intergenerational dialogue focuses on a different aspect of this crisis from a gender and education perspective, identifying potential strategies to mitigate its impact. The powerful young advocates participating in the dialogues bring a different regional perspective, lived experience and a wealth of knowledge on the gendered impacts of girls being out of school.


Following the dialogues, UNGEI will work with the youth activists to produce short policy notes with key recommendations that will continue to influence the education response through reopening and long-term recovery.


Explore the dialogue series #InSolidarityWithGirls

Watch the dialogue with UNICEF Executive Director and Platform for Girls’ Education member Henrietta Fore in conversation with young advocates from Green Card Voices, Plan International and UNICEF. Moderated by Sodfa Daaji, co-chairperson of Afrika Youth Movement and member of the UNGEI Youth Advisory Council, the discussion focuses on Opening up better and getting girls back to school. Participants explore how we can plan for more equal, gender-responsive school systems once restrictions are lifted, while also responding to the challenges girls are facing now to ensure they continue learning and return to school post-crisis.


Watch the dialogue between youth activists from Plan International, ActionAid and VSO International in conversation Plan International CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen. Moderated by activists Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, the dialogue focused on Rebuilding the ‘new normal’ in education post COVID-19. The discussion centred on identifying opportunities to accelerate change and advance gender equality in education during the crisis, including through tackling gender stereotypes in teaching materials and bridging the gender gap in internet access, digital literacy and STEM.


Watch the dialogue between Julia Gillard, Board Chair for the Global Partnership for Education and Platform for Girls’ Education member, UK Special Envoy for Girls' Education Baroness Sugg, and youth activists from the Girls Advocacy Alliance, Plan International and the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network. The dialogue, themed COVID-19 and girls' education: A tale of two futures, looks at the complexities of this health emergency colliding with the pre-existing learning crisis, paying particular attention to youth insights and experiences.




Want to learn more about #InSolidarityWithGirls?


-        Read the UNESCO blog post Rebuilding a ‘new normal’ for girls’ education amid COVID-19

-        Watch more videos in the dialogue series

-        Join the conversation through Twitter and Instagram via #InSolidarityWithGirls 


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