UNESCO International Symposium and Policy Forum – Cracking the Code: Girls’ Education in STEM

UNESCO International Symposium and Policy Forum - Cracking the Code: Girls Education in STEM

28 – 30 August 2017, Bangkok, Thailand

UNESCO’s first international symposium and policy forum on girls’ education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 28 to 30 August.

The Symposium will examine girls’ disadvantage in STEM studies and careers worldwide, and what the education sector can do to address gender gaps in STEM.

It will provide space to share and discuss the factors that impact on girls’ participation and achievement in STEM fields, and good practice worldwide.

The event is organized jointly by UNESCO HQ and UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education.


More female students are in school today than ever before but they do not always have equal opportunities to complete and benefit from an education of their choice. Numerous overlapping factors affect girls’ access to, achievement in, and completion of education. One area of longstanding concern is the low rate of female participation in STEM studies and consequently STEM careers.

STEM are catalytic for the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They are important drivers for innovation, proposing new approaches and solutions to tackle existing and emerging challenges to sustainable development, inclusive growth and social wellbeing. STEM careers are considered as ‘the job’ of the future; the European Parliament forecasts around 7 million new STEM jobs by 2025 in Europe alone. To achieve STEM’s potential, both boys and girls, men and women need equal access to STEM education and careers.

To ensure inclusive growth and sustainable development for all, girls and women must be provided with equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from STEM. UNESCO is giving special attention to this issue as part of its overall efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls through education and as a response to UNESCO Member States’ decision on UNESCO’s role in encouraging girls and women to be leaders in science, technology, engineering, art/design and mathematics. UNESCO is also developing a report in order to map the current status of girls’ education in STEM education and identify the underlying factors that systematically keep girls out of these areas of study, with the aim of facilitating policy dialogue and making evidence-based policy recommendations.


The overall purpose of the International Symposium and Policy Forum is to make the case for strengthening girls’ education in STEM subjects, and ultimately female representation in STEM careers and decision-making. The event will provide a platform to present latest findings from research and practice and facilitate policy dialogue, experience sharing and collaboration among participants.


  • Building the foundations: Gender-responsive quality STEM education

  • Changing the equation: Addressing stereotypes and bias hindering girls’ participation

  • Gravitating into the field: Reaching out, engaging and empowering girls and women

  • Wiring the network: Partnerships, cross-sector learning and cooperation

Expected outcomes

  • Increased knowledge on the status of girls’ education in STEM worldwide

  • Enhanced awareness of policies and practices that are effective in supporting girls’ and women’s education in STEM

  • Strengthened platform for global, regional and country networks, partnerships and cooperation on STEM education for girls and women


For more information:

  UNESCO International Symposium and Policy Forum webpage

  UNESCO website

  UNESCO office in Bangkok website

  Sustainable Development Goals webpage



UNESCO office in Bangkok

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