UNESCO report reveals technology’s mixed impact on girls’ education

The report highlights progress in reducing discrimination against girls over the past twenty years but also notes the negative impacts of cyberbullying and harassment on social media, which affect their mental health and education.


A new UN report, released by the UNESCO latest Global Education Monitor (GEM), explores how technology affects girls’ education from a gender perspective.

The report celebrates two decades of reduced discrimination against girls but also notes technology’s negative effects on their educational outcomes. It addresses challenges such as online harassment, access disparities in ICT, and the harmful influences of social media on mental health and body image, which can impede academic performance. Additionally, the report sheds light on the gender gap in STEM fields, underscoring the underrepresentation of women in STEM education and careers.

While highlighting that appropriately used social media can enhance girls’ awareness and knowledge of social issues, the GEM team also calls for increased educational investment and stricter digital regulations to promote safer, more inclusive environments for girls worldwide.

Why does it matter?

The report coincided with the International Girls in ICT Day, supported by the ITU, during which the UN Secretary-General emphasised the need for greater support and resources for girls in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), noting that globally, women (65%) have less access to the internet compared to men (70%). The persistent access gap in ICT and its disproportionately adverse effects on girls, despite years of acknowledgement, suggests a need for a more aggressive approach in policy and resource allocation to truly level the playing field.