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Promoting Gender Equality in Education through Photo Contest

This year, the UNESCO-UNGEI Asia-Pacific 2011 Gender in Education Calendar has captured the spirit of gender equality. Thirteen winning entries from the UNESCO-UNGEI Asia-Pacific photo contest are featured in this calendar, which is being distributed throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

©Mehr-un-Nisa, Pakistan

This photo contest was organized jointly by UNESCO Bangkok, along with the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) East Asia and Pacific and South Asia (EAP & SA).

The contest attracted more than 250 entries from 14 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. The photo entries were submitted by students, teachers, government officials, development workers and professional photographers from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Gender equality is not simply treating women and men exactly the same, or just about having the same number of men and women taking part in various socioeconomic, cultural and political activities. Gender equality is about ensuring that women and men are equally participating in the decision-making processes, benefiting from the outcomes, and taking responsibilities and acting on their respective duties in family and society. It also means that the roles and responsibilities of men and women in family and society do not depend on whether they are born male or female, but on the aspirations, capacities, efforts, and opportunities made available to both women and men without discrimination.

Eleven years have passed since the launch of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. This year’s calendar theme “Promoting Gender Equality in Education – Five years to go until 2015: What have we accomplished?” affords us an opportunity to reflect on the progress being made.

With less than 5 years ahead of the EFA target year (2015), it is a concern that the recent UNDP 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report “Power, Voice and
Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific” finds that the Asia-Pacific still has one of the world’s worst gender gaps. According to the report, almost half of the adult women in South Asia are illiterate, more than in any other region in the world.

The gender photo contest has been held yearly since 2006. Each year’s contest aims to use the power of photography to highlight and underscore the selected theme. More information about the next contest will soon be announced.

For more information about UNESCO’s Gender Equality in Education programme in the region please  write to
To download the calendar and learn more about gender issues in education, go to the website at