Why gender equality is important for post-2015
UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2008–2013 designated gender equality as one of its global priorities, supporting a dual approach of gender mainstreaming and gender-specific programming through the Gender Equity Action Plan (GEAP). By harmonizing with UNESCO both now and in the future as part of the GEAP, IIEP places particular emphasis on the implementation of research and dissemination programmes based on this important priority. As recommended during the concluding session of IIEP’s Evidence-based Policy Forum on Gender Equality (3–4 October 2011), it is important to reflect on how IIEP’s programming can further incorporate gender mainstreaming activities into the education sector, by integrating gender-responsive policy into gender-transformative planning.
What IIEP proposes … beyond parity, beyond 2015
“Looking beyond Parity” – the theme of IIEP’s Gender Policy Forum – followed UNESCO’s definition, which refers to the notion of boys and girls experiencing the same advantages or disadvantages not only in attending school, but also receiving teaching methods, curricula, and academic orientation, resulting in equal learning achievement and subsequent life opportunities. As a response to the Policy Forum recommendations, a more holistic approach to gender equality in education was discussed during the E-Forum on Gender Equality in Education (26 March to 6 April 2012). The aim was to identify further evidence that looks at the bi-directional relationship between gender equality in learning achievement and the education systems including at leadership levels. As a result of the E-Forum, three priorities were identified to take forward to the post-2015 MDG discussion: (1) inclusion of gender-responsive policies and gender-transformative programmes in the education sector; (2) gender equality in learning outcomes through access to quality education; and (3) improving female representation at all levels of the education system.
Beyond 2015 … towards a gender-transformative programme
IIEP will build on our existing strategies to improve internal gender mainstreaming of programmes, up to and beyond the 2008–2013 Medium-Term Plan. This will include implementing programmes that move beyond the UNESCO definition of ‘gender blind' towards being more Gender Aware (Sensitive) --> Gender Responsive --> Gender Transformative. For example, based on three case studies (Argentina, Kenya, and Viet Nam) begun during 2011 on gender equality in leadership, IIEP will take forward the conclusions from the analyses in order to support ministries of education to develop strategies that monitor progress towards greater numbers of women in decision-making positions at all levels of the education system. Moreover, in order to understand why the gender differences in learning achievement have been stable in Southern and Eastern African countries, a pilot qualitative study (classroom discrimination, gender violence, and sexual harassment) will be initiated in 2012 in a few countries in the region. The Kenyan component of this will be combined with the development of strategies to promote and monitor women’s leadership in the Kenyan education system. National capacity will be developed in order to link these research results for more effective policy and planning. In addition, a comprehensive and holistic action research programme will be initiated by IIEP post-2015, which will form part of an integrated package of interventions that interlink issues of gender, youth, HIV, and conflict prevention to promote educational planning for sustainable livelihoods.