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Step outside the gender box: learning free from stereotypes

International Day of the Girl 2021

Mon, 11 Oct, 2021 - Mon, 11 Oct, 2021
08:00-09:00 EDT
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The campaign: Step outside the gender box

Gender stereotypes have no borders, and globally they are embedded in our classrooms. From a young age, girls and boys, children and youth, including those who identify as LGBTIQ+, are denied a safe, quality education because of prevailing gender stereotypes and expectations that dictate what they can or cannot do. Gender stereotypes perpetuate inequities in education and limit future life pathways for children and youth. 

The theme for International Day of the Girl 2021 is “Digital generation. Our generation”. The global shift towards digital learning, socializing, mobilizing and connecting has been accelerated by the global pandemic. Whether online or in classrooms, we must transform education to end gender stereotypes, so all children can be themselves and be safe no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. Young people around the world are ready to step outside the gender box. We need teachers, learners, parents, school leaders, ministries and civil society to step forward with them! 


The launch event: International Day of the Girl

On International Day of the Girl (IDG) 2021, the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) is launching a new digital campaign, calling for education that is free from gender stereotypes. At 10:00 EST on 11 October, youth activists, teachers, gender and education experts, ministry personnel and feminist artists and creatives will come together for a virtual launch event to say NO to gender stereotypes in classrooms. 

The virtual launch event will provide a safe and empowering space for stakeholders (including ministry personnel, musicians, poets, activists, researchers, and teachers) to share their experiences of gender norms and stereotypes in education, and practical ways in which they can be addressed. 



Event programme

Event moderator: Thembe Mahlaba, girls’ education activist and Emmy-award winning YouTube creator 

1. Feminist poetry performance: Maya C Popa 

2. Opening remarks: Antara Ganguli, Director UNGEI Secretariat 

3. Real talk on gender stereotypes in education


  • Mme Sylla Fatoumata Hama Cisse, Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Education in Mali 
  • Ekka McFee, Branch President of The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and Chairperson of its Women's Committee 
  • young feminist activist (tbc)  
  • Cristian González Cabrera, Researcher, LGBT Rights Program, Human Rights Watch  
  • Edgar Bernardo, Men to Change Network (HOPEM), Mozambique  

4. Pre-recorded music video of feminist anthems  

5. Thembe Mahlaba and Tony Porter: Let’s get real about the ‘Man Box’ 

6. Call to action from young feminist activists.  

  • Activists representing FAWE, the Global Network for Young People with Disabilities, Restless Development, the Global Campaign for Education, FRIDA Young Feminist Fund and the Young Leaders for the SDGS will stand up to demand pledges from champion stakeholders to commit to learning free from stereotypes 

7. Commitments from UNGEI partner and ally organizations  

  • High-level speakers from two bilateral agencies (USAID tbc and Global Affairs Canada), two multilaterals (UNICEF, UNESCO) and two international CSOs

8. Closing remarks  

  • Dr. Heike Kuhn, Head of Division, Education at Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany 

9. Thank you and close  

Thembe Mahlaba, Girls’ education activist and Emmy-award winning YouTube creator and Emna Trabelsi, Tunisian DJ and activist


This event will be available in English and French. Captions and ASL interpretation will be provided. 

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