Zonta International statement on International Day of Education 2022

Each year on 24 January, the International Day of Education celebrates education’s role in peace and development.

Education is a human right. And yet, globally, 258 million children (129 million girls) do not attend school. Additionally, 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math, less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and about 4 million children and young refugees are out of school.

Zonta International believes that education is essential, especially for women and girls. We currently provide four scholarships, fellowships and awards to women pursuing education and careers in typically male-dominated fields and all of our international service projects include an education component.

Let Us Learn Madagascar is helping thousands of girls receive training and the support they need to continue their studies and transition from primary to lower secondary school. Tens of thousands of girls who dropped out of school are being assisted to return with support from the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage. Zonta International is working with UNICEF in Peru to respond to the needs of adolescent girls, including ensuring safe and adequate school environments. And, in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, Zonta International is working with UNFPA to develop teaching materials and train health staff to properly respond to cases of gender-based violence.

“Quality education must be inclusive and equitable for countries to achieve gender equity and break the cycle that is leaving millions of children and adults—particularly girls and women—behind,” said Zonta International President Sharon Langenbeck.

Each January, Zonta International celebrates Amelia Earhart Month, which honors the life of the famed aviator and Zontian, and spreads awareness of our Amelia Earhart Fellowship. We are also accepting applications for our Young Women in Public Affairs Award and will soon post the application for our Jane M. Klausman (JMK) Women in Business Scholarship.

This year, the United Nations’ theme for the International Day of Education is “Changing Course, Transforming Education.” A recent report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education, says that “urgent action, taken together, is needed to change course and reimagine our futures.”

“This year’s International Day of Education will be a platform to showcase the most important transformations that have to be nurtured to realize everyone’s fundamental right to education and build a more sustainable, inclusive and peaceful futures,” UNESCO said. “It will generate debate around how to strengthen education as a public endeavor and common good, how to steer the digital transformation, support teachers, safeguard the planet and unlock the potential in every person to contribute to collective well-being and our shared home.”

Find out more about the International Day of Education and the objectives of the day in UNESCO’s concept note.

To join the #EducationDay conversation on social media, we invite our clubs and members to talk about our education programs and how they support girls and women in their educational journeys.

24 JANUARY 2022