No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project

Background of No Ceilings

Advancing the status of girls and women remains the unfinished business of our time.

In 1995, at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 189 nations agreed to an ambitious Platform for Action that called for the “full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life.” At this conference, Secretary Clinton memorably declared that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

Nearly twenty years later, progress has been made. The gender gap in primary education has closed. In many countries, laws that once permitted unequal treatment of girls and women have been replaced by laws that recognize their equality. And a powerful new current of grassroots activism enabled by new technologies is giving voice to girls and women around the world.

Yet, for all of this progress, significant gender gaps remain and hard-won rights and legal protections remain elusive on the ground. Advancing the status of girls and women remains the unfinished business of our time. 

No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project was launched to inspire and advance the full participation of girls and women around the world. Working together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, No Ceilings is collecting data about the progress of the last 20 years to understand the gains made and the gaps that still remain. No Ceilings has compiled and analyzed this data into a shareable and accessible progress report and data visualization that will identify where we have made progress and where there is more to do. By knowing how far we have come, we can create a roadmap to advance the status of girls and women in every corner of the globe.

No Ceilings is also focused on hearing directly from girls and women about the progress and challenges they are seeing in their own lives. In 2014, No Ceilings launched the No Ceilings Conversations and the No Ceilings Survey to hear as many voices as possible and discuss the diversity of challenges that girls and women face in all aspects of society. In addition, No Ceilings is helping close gaps through CGI commitments. At the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting, No Ceilings announced a CGI commitment and Clinton Foundation collaboration of more than 30 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals, and governments working to advance girls’ secondary education along five priority areas (access, safety, quality learning, transitions, and local leadership). This collective effort, Girls CHARGE – the Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education – is co-chaired by the No Ceilings initiative and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. In 2014, Girls CHARGE committed over $600 million dollars to reach 14 million girls over five years. Since then, No Ceilings and Brookings have brought on additional new partners to this commitment and, today, nearly 60 partners have committed over $800 million to reach 15 million girls. The collaborative continues to grow and serves a community to share best practices, emerging research, learnings, and monitoring and evaluation models.