On 28 March 2023, the International Symposium on "Transforming Education for Girls and Women in the New Era: Inclusion, Equity, and Quality" was held in Beijing. The event was organised by Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, All-China Women's Federation, and Beijing Normal University(BNU), with support from UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED). Mme. Huang Xiaowei, Vice Chairperson of the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council of China, Vice President and First Member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation, Prof. Chen Jie, Vice Minister of Education, Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO, and Academician of the Academy of Engineering, and Prof. Zhou Zuoyu, Vice President of Beijing Normal University, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. The opening ceremony was hosted by Mr. Qin Changwei, Secretary-General, Chinese National Commission for UNESCO. Ms. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO. Ms. Oyungerel Batnasan, President of Mongolian Women's Federation, and Volha Shpileuskaya, Chairperson, Belarusian Women's Union, were also present at the symposium and gave speeches.
Mme. Huang Xiaowei emphasized that providing inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education for girls and women is not only fundamental path for their sustainable development, but also a strategic task that concerns the future of the world. She introduced a comprehensive overview of China's experience and achievements in implementing the national policy of gender equality, promoting equity in education and advancing the high-quality development of girls’ and women’s education. With new arrangements and requirements made by the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, such as prioritizing the development of education and promoting education digitalization, there are now broader prospects for the better development of girls' and women's education in the new era. Mme. Huang hoped that the international community will join hands to ensure that every girl and woman has equal access to development opportunities and equal sharing of development achievements. She also expressed her desire for everyone to contribute to achieving the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and promoting the construction of a community of shared future for mankind.
Prof. Chen Jie pointed out that girls' and women's education is not only essential for their own development, but also a critical foundation for achieving sustainable development of human society. As an advocate of gender equality and women’s empowerment, China has consistently prioritized eliminating gender gap and promoting educational equity as important goals and tasks. With the establishment of a sound legal and policy systems, increased investment in education, and active implementation of public welfare education programs, China has made remarkable progress in girls' and women's education. Prof. Chen Jie proposed that prioritizing girls' and women's education is essential for achieving gender equality in education and through education to achieve gender equality more broadly, laying a solid foundation for their successful lives. He suggested that comprehensive digital and health education should be promoted for girls and women to provide strong support for their future challenges. Additionally, it is crucial to deepen and expand partnerships to create an enabling environment for global women to enjoy high-quality and equitable education.
Prof. ZHOU Zuoyu highlighted that women are a significant driving force behind social development and progress, and education is the most effective way to empower them and enable their active participation in society, ensuring their right to education and quality education, which is a fundamental right for girls and women. He emphasized that education must proactively adapt to the needs of the digital age and strengthen the deep participation of girls and women in science, technology, and digital fields, fully utilizing the diversified innovation platforms brought about by the technological revolution, and cultivate talents who will lead the development of the new era, and paying attention to the deep participation and leadership enhancement of girls and women in science, technology and digital fields, ensuring that “Leave no one behind” during social and educational transformations.
Following the opening ceremony, a panel discussion was held, moderated by Prof. Zhou Zuoyu. Representative experts from UN Women, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Cambodia, and China shared their experiences and reached consensus on the theme of "Inclusion, Equity, and Quality", exploring possibilities of cooperation and providing suggestions for further promoting global education for girls and women.
The symposium was attended by over 100 representatives, experts, and scholars from nearly 30 countries and international organizations, including China, Belarus, Mongolia, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, UNESCO, and UN Women. They conducted in-depth discussions on topics such as "Implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda - Leave no Woman or Girl Behind", "Improving the Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical Skills and Capacities of Girls and Women", and "Promoting Digital Skills for Girls and Women".