As the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium
Development Goals was approaching , a number of processes were
under way among UN Member States, the UN system,
academia, policymakers and civil society to reflect on the
post-2015 development framework.
A growing number of states were reviewing and prioritizing
the lessons learned that need to be incorporated into the
post-2015 framework. The most recent (2012) Millennium
Development Goals Report revealed that while there was
notable progress in some gender equality dimensions there
remains much to be done in every country, at every level, to
achieve equality and women’s empowerment.
Empowerment means moving from enforced powerlessness to
a position of power. Education is an essential means of
empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-
confidence necessary to fully participate in the development
process. Sustainable development is only possible when women
and men enjoy equal opportunities to reach their potential.
Women and girls experience multiple and intersecting
Structural barriers in the economic, social, political and
environmental spheres produce and reinforce these
inequalities. Obstacles to women’s economic and political
empowerment, and violence against women and girls, are
barriers to sustainable development and the achievement of
human rights, gender equality, justice and peace.
Across much of the world, either by law or custom, women
are still denied the right to own land or inherit property,
obtain access to credit, attend school, earn income and
progress in their profession free from job discrimination.
Women are significantly under-represented in decision-making
at all levels.
While the economic benefits of educating girls are similar to
those of educating boys, recent findings suggest the social
benefits are greater.
Women have the potential to change their own economic
status and that of their communities and countries in which
they live yet usually women’s economic contributions are
unrecognized, their work undervalued and their promise
Unequal opportunities between women and men hamper
women’s ability to lift themselves from poverty and secure
improved options to improve their lives. Education is the most
powerful instrument for changing women’s position in society.
Investing in women’s and girls’ education is one of the most
effective ways to reduce poverty.
In line with the Millennium Development Goals and the
objectives established by the international community,
MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development
Cooperation, at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, consistently
promotes the empowerment of women, considering women’s
education a critical component of development policy and
planning, and central to sustainable development.
Following important changes in the international development
landscape in recent years MASHAV adopted a dual approach
to development: We engage in active development policy
dialogues and development diplomacy, thus contributing to and
shaping policy at a higher, multilateral level.
And, through professional programs, we maintain an active and
effective presence at the field level.
One of MASHAV’s earliest affiliate training institutions, The
Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center
(MCTC), has addressed the connection between gender,
poverty reduction and sustainable development for over five
MCTC places education at the core of women’s ability to
contribute to all activities, working to enhance knowledge,
competency and skills, including in the development process
and in their contributions to civil society.
Guided by this mindset, MASHAV, together with MCTC, the
UN Development Program and UN Women is organizing the
28th International Conference for Women Leaders on “The
Post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals Agenda:
Ensuring the Centrality of Gender Equality and Women’s
Empowerment in the Next Framework.”
This November, senior women and men from the public and
associative sectors – ministers, members of parliaments,
heads of women’s associations, representatives of
international organizations and representatives of the judicial,
business and academic sectors – will convene in Haifa to
discuss progress achieved and gaps remaining in the
implementation of the Millennium Development Goals from a
gender perspective. We will highlight lessons learned and best
practices in advancing gender equality and women’s
Education is important for everyone, but it is a critical area
of empowerment for girls and women. This is not only
because education is an entry point to opportunity but also
because women’s educational achievements have positive
ripple effects within the family and across generations.
Education is much more than reading and writing. It is an
essential investment countries make for their futures, a
crucial factor in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable
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