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UNESCO and KWDI Join Hands for Research on Gender and Quality of Education

UNESCO Bangkok announces the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korean Women’s Development Institute (KWDI). This MoU, signed in Seoul earlier this month, was accompanied by a project agreement for a new research initiative based on the need for a deeper understanding of the gendered dimensions of learning and occupational achievement, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite recent gains in girls’ educational outcomes, disparities persist between boys and girls in learning achievements, educational specializations, career choice and labour market integration across many countries in the region. Inadequate job and skills training, perceptions in regard to certain career fields which may deter girls from pursuing them and lead to reproduction of traditional gender roles in the workplace, and lower wages are some of the structural barriers facing girls and women in many of the education and employment systems across the region. 

The agreement signed by UNESCO and KWDI proposes a joint research programme which aims to uncover the factors underlying differences amongst girls and boys in terms of classroom performance, transition to higher levels of education and the job market, as well as career orientation. Conducted over a timeframe of three years, each year of the initiative will focus on a different comparative research topic. The initial study, which will focus on skills and job training for girls and women, will be conducted in 2013. All three studies will be comparative in nature and will focus on analysis of policies, programmes, trends, and challenges in a range of Asia-Pacific countries. 

The combined efforts of UNESCO and KWDI will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the gender-related aspects of education and training systems in the Asia-Pacific region, and how they have an impact on women’s participation in the labor market later on. This innovative research will help reveal the structural forces that may be perpetuating gender inequality in different parts of the region. 

The MoU between KWDI and UNESCO will contribute to building a stronger relationship between the two organizations, paving the way for future partnership and collaboration. As a leading national research institution for gender policy in the Republic of Korea, KWDI’s expertise in areas such as women’s economic participation, human rights and political representation provide key complements to UNESCO’s emphasis on gender equality as one of its core priority areas. 

For more information, please contact Ramya Vivekanandan [r.vivekanandan(at)] at the Education Policy and Reform Unit 

 Written by Karlee Johnson [k.johnson(at)]. 

 Related Link: Korean Women’s Development Institute (KWDI)