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This International Day of the Girl, say NO to gender stereotypes in schools

28 Sep 2021

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. 

Gender stereotypes have no borders, and globally they are embedded in our classrooms. From a young age, children and youth are denied a safe, quality education because of prevailing gender stereotypes and expectations that dictate what they can or cannot do. 

Influenced by peers, teachers, and textbooks, learners are taught that they should fit into specific roles, expectations and binaries. This can lead to the ‘boys will be boys'  narrative, bullying, toxic masculinity and life pathways which are labeled for specific genders. Gender stereotypes perpetuate inequities in education and limit learners’ future life pathways. 

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 children and youth can be themselves, dream, live and learn in safety - no matter their aspirations, gender identity or sexual orientation. 

In keeping with the theme of IDG 2021, UNGEI is going full digital to say NO to gender stereotypes in classrooms. 

On Monday 11 October, join UNGEI and partners in launching a global digital campaign calling for the removal of gender stereotypes from textbooks and classrooms to advance gender equality in education. This campaign will make the case for shifting gender stereotypes in education plans, policies, textbooks and curricula, in order to reduce inequalities in education and achieve gender justice more broadly. 

IDG2021 flyerThe virtual launch event at 10:00am EST will provide a safe and empowering space for stakeholders (including ministry personnel, activists, researchers, and teachers) to share their experiences of gender norms and stereotypes in education, and practical ways in which they can be addressed. The event will be moderated by girls’ education champion and daytime Emmy award-winning content creator Thembe Mahlaba. 

When making change in the world, the medium is just as important as the message.  Afrie, Sonita Alizadeh, Emna Trabelsi and Maya Popa will add their support to this important campaign through digital content creation, poetry, music, and art. The digital content created for this campaign will aim to make gender stereotypes in education relevant and relatable for a wide range of audiences, especially children and youth. 


Young people around the world are ready to step outside the gender box and towards an education that is free from gender stereotypes. Will you step forward with them? 

Watch back on the event here.


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