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2021 UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education now accepting nominations

Deadline for submissions is 26 May 2021 (midnight, Paris time).

On International Women’s Day, UNESCO launches the call for nominations for the 2021 UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education. The Prize awards US$ 50,000 annually to two laureates making outstanding efforts in favour of girls and women’s education.

Gender equality in education is a basic right and a prerequisite to build inclusive societies. Although notable progress has been made over the last 20 years, 129 million girls remain out of school, and two-thirds of children of primary school age who may never set foot in school are girls (UNESCO Institute for Statistics).

The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honours outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education. It is the first UNESCO Prize of this nature and is unique in showcasing successful projects that improve and promote the educational prospects of girls and women and in turn, the quality of their lives.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in a context where girls and women have been disproportionately impacted by nationwide school closures, ensuring that girls and women continue learning must be a priority. UNESCO estimates that over 11 million girls and young women may not return to school following the impact of the pandemic. This is in addition to the 128 million girls who were already out of school before the pandemic.

The Prize is more significant in these challenging times than ever before. Highlighting innovations that can help us foster an equal future is key to responding to global challenges around girls' and women's education. Read about the nomination process below.


Governments of the UNESCO Member States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO are now invited to nominate up to three individuals, institutions or organizations who have made strong, innovative contributions in favour of girls’ and women’s education.

Interested candidates are invited to contact their country’s National Commission for UNESCO/Permanent Delegation to UNESCO or an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO for more information.


Nominations must meet the eligibility and selection criteria set by the Prize. Nominated projects must be established and running for at least two years, show potential to be replicable and scalable, and contribute to one or more of the priority areas of the Prize. An independent International Jury of five experts will assess nominations on the basis of the project’s potential for impact, innovation and sustainability.


Nominations must be submitted in English or French via an online platform, accessible only to National Commissions for UNESCO/Permanent Delegations to UNESCO and NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO.

Based on the recommendations of the Jury, the Director-General of UNESCO will announce the 2021 laureates who will receive the award on 11 October 2021 as part of the International Day of the Girl Child celebrations.

Selection Criteria

The two Prize laureates will be selected by UNESCO’s Director‐General on the basis of recommendations made by the independent International Jury of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, consisting of five experts from all geographical regions.

The nominations will only be considered if the project/programme:

  • Has a clear focus on advancing girls’ and women’s education, and the promotion of gender equality in and through education, and contributes to one or more of the five priority areas of the Prize:

1. Participation: Supporting girls to transition from primary education to lower‐secondary

education and to complete full basic education

2. Literacy: Supporting adolescent girls and young women to acquire literacy skills

3. Environment: Supporting the creation of a gender‐responsive and safe teaching‐learning


4. Teachers: Engaging teachers to be change agents with gender‐responsive teaching

attitudes and practices

5. Skills: Supporting girls and women to acquire knowledge/skills for life and work

  • Has already been running for at least two years; and shows evidence that it may be replicable, scalable and/or provide significant learning potential for initiatives in other contexts

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The selection process for the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education


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