Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM(2012)38       21 February 20121



1138 Meeting, 28 March 2012

7 Education and Culture

7.1 Gender mainstreaming in education

Report on the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)13 by member States

Item to be considered by the GR-C at its meeting on 13 March 2012



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3

1. BACKGROUND TO REPORT 4

2. PLACE OF EDUCATION IN SOCIETY 5

3. RATIONALE FOR FOCUS ON GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION 7

4. CONCLUSIONS ON THE FOLLOW-UP OF THE RECOMMENDATION CM/REC(2007)13 ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN EDUCATION 7

5. COMMENTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED
IN CM/REC(2007)13 ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN EDUCATION 8

6. IMPLICATIONS OF FINDINGS 10

APPENDIX I – EXPLANATION OF KEY WORDS/CONCEPTS 12

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The Secretariat wishes to thank the members of the Bureau of the Steering Committee for Education (CDED), Mrs. Maureen BOHAN (Ireland) expert in the field of equality and a former member of the Steering Committee on Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) of the Council of Europe as well as all the experts involved from the Ministries of Education in member States and other national institutions for their valuable contribution in the development of this report.

* * *

*

“A transformed partnership based on equality between women and men is a condition for people-centred sustainable development. A sustained and long-term commitment is essential, so that women and men can work together for themselves, for their children and for society to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century”.

(United Nations, 1995)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)13 on Gender mainstreaming in Education was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 October 2007 at the 1006th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies and was a direct result of a well established cooperation between Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) and Steering Committee for Education (CDED) in the field of gender mainstreaming in schools.

Three years after its adoption, the Committee of Ministers during its 1074th meeting held on 12-13 January 2010 decided to ask the Steering Committee for Education to follow up the implementation of the above-mentioned Recommendation in co-operation with the CDEG. On that occasion, the Committee of Ministers adopted Ad Hoc terms of reference for the CDED to carry out this work until the end of 2011.

Based on the five major recommendations addressed to the governments of the Council of Europe’s member states through the Recommendation, a questionnaire was drafted by both committees in 2010 and sent to each state in 2011 in which the relevant authorities were asked to provide information on the progress made in their respective state in implementing the actions contained in the Recommendation.

Forty three responses were received and analysed. The results were submitted to the CDED and the CDEG in 2011.

As a result of the discussions, the following major conclusions and implications for action were put forward by both committees and could serve as a basis for future work by the Council of Europe and members states in this field.

1. The vast majority of member states of the Council of Europe have reviewed or have plans to review laws relating to education from a gender equality perspective. It would seem, however, that the plans do not address all of the players throughout the education system.

2. The concept of gender mainstreaming is not understood by all involved in the education system. Specifically the process of implementing it at a practical level can cause confusion and in some cases defensiveness, as school authorities and practitioners tend to defend traditional structures and practices.

3. Schools need assistance in undertaking the actions required to review and adapt existing structures, organisation and practices from a gender perspective. Less than half of the countries have developed measures aimed specifically at implementing gender mainstreaming at all levels of the education system as recommended to governments.

4. Awareness of gender equality issues, research on aspects of gender equality which have an impact on teaching and learning and a reflection on teachers’ own beliefs and behaviour, need to be addressed in pre-service training and continued in in-service programmes of teachers. Just over half of the countries have addressed the issue of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in teacher training programme.

5. There is no consistency of approach to evaluation and no means of measuring outcomes and progress in the countries with regard to gender issues in education. Almost all countries have mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the implementation of gender mainstreaming in schools. However, only a third of countries have developed a formal means of measuring progress. Without a systematic means of monitoring and measuring progress, results may not be accurate or comparable.

6. Only 17 countries responded that they had circulated the Recommendation or placed it on websites for the attention of relevant bodies or authorities. It can be concluded therefore that this was a possible reason for its lack of circulation.

1. BACKGROUND TO REPORT

1. The role of the Council of Europe in continuously addressing human rights and democracy, which includes equality between men and women, is considered to be of primary importance, particularly in the current economic climate. Achieving greater equality between women and men requires changes at many levels, changes in institutions and legal frameworks; changes in economic institutions; changes in political decision-making structures; and crucially, changes in attitudes and relationships.

2. While most European countries have enacted legislation and undertaken actions to promote democratic principles, including equality between men and women, the gap between de jure and de facto gender equality persists. The Council of Europe has expressed concern that despite actions undertaken by its committees, programmes and legal instruments; sex role stereotyping, sexism and discrimination persist throughout societies. The history of inequalities between the sexes is long and complex and it is recognised that legislation and positive actions alone will not change many of the cultural practices that exist throughout societies.

3. Legislation is a prerequisite to begin the process of attaining gender equality, but after many decades since the passage of relevant legislation, including education legislation, in European countries, of all the factors found to have limited women’s and some men’s lives, cultural traditions have proved the most powerful and the most resistant to change. Inequality often is more a consequence of insufficient awareness than deliberate wrong doing (Council of Europe).

4. The process of achieving gender equality globally was stepped up with the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action by the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995. The Platform states that the creation of an educational and social environment, in which women and men, girls and boys, are treated equally and encouraged to achieve their full potential, respecting their freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, and where educational resources promote non-stereotyped images of women and men, would be effective in the elimination of the causes of discrimination against women and inequalities between women and men. The promotion of the strategy of gender mainstreaming was considered to be the most effective means of achieving the objectives of the Platform, and national governments were asked to adopt this strategy in their commitment to the achievement of gender equality. The General Assembly twenty-third special session to follow up implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (June 2000) enhanced the mainstreaming mandate within the United Nations.

5. Gender mainstreaming is generally accepted as being an important strategy in reaching the goal of achieving gender equality throughout societies. However, there is not always a clear understanding of what is meant by this concept. Conscious of this, the Council’s Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) set up in 1996 a Group of Specialists on mainstreaming to explore the concept and implications of gender mainstreaming and to prepare methodologies and instruments. This Group produced, in 1998, a report on "Gender mainstreaming: conceptual framework, methodology, and presentation of good practices" (EG-S-GM (98) 2) which had been widely disseminated. The report set out the conceptual framework for gender mainstreaming, a methodology for its implementation as well as examples of good practice. The report gives the following definition of gender mainstreaming:

"Gender mainstreaming is the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy-making”. (Council of Europe, 1998) Gender mainstreaming entails bringing the perceptions, experience, knowledge and interests of women as well as men to bear on policy-making, planning and decision-making.

6. In the case of education, gender mainstreaming relates to providing opportunities for equality of outcomes and how these can be achieved. Gender mainstreaming ensures that the talents, needs, rights, interests and aspirations of both girls and boys are addressed in all of a school’s policies, plans, curricula, programmes and practices. It necessitates engaging with gender equality issues throughout the life of the school. It is not something that is added on to existing policies and practices but involves a transformation of existing paradigms that inform education

7. To ensure that gender mainstreaming is successfully implemented it is crucial that all stakeholders in the school are aware of gender equality issues. Equally, the commitment of those who are part of the process and who are influential in the implementation of the process is essential if success is to be realised.

8. Recommendation No. R (98) 14 on Gender Mainstreaming adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 April 1998, encouraged decision-makers to create an enabling environment and facilitate conditions for the implementation of gender mainstreaming to achieve effective equality between women and men. The Committee of Ministers also adopted in April 1998 a Message to steering committees of the Council of Europe on gender mainstreaming, asking all steering committees of the Council of Europe to study carefully the report on gender mainstreaming, with a view to taking inspiration from it and implementing this strategy in their programme of activities.

9. Gender mainstreaming remains one of the priority areas for the Council of Europe's work on equality, with efforts being made at various levels to find new ways of integrating this dimension into other steering committees' programmes and to favour its use at the national level.

10. Conscious of the importance of education in the cognitive, social and personal development of boys and girls and of the influence and consequences of their educational experiences on their life chances the CDEG decided to set up a Group of Specialists on promoting Gender Mainstreaming in Schools (EG-S-GS) 2001. The group’s task was to study how gender mainstreaming can be promoted in schools through, inter alia, initial and continuous teacher training, introduction of new teaching methods and learning contexts, revision of curricula and teaching materials. The Group was asked to consider the relevance of existing policies and practices in the field of gender equality in education and how these may need to be adapted to respond to new challenges.

11. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)13 was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 October 2007 at the 1006th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies. Based on the five major recommendations to the governments of the Council of Europe’s member states contained in the Recommendation, a questionnaire was drafted by both Committees in 2010 and sent to each state in 2011 in which the relevant authorities were asked to provide information on the progress made in their respective state, in implementing the actions contained in the Recommendation. Forty four responses were received and an analysis of the information provided by the states is contained in document CM(2012)38 add.

2. PLACE OF EDUCATION IN SOCIETY

12 Formal education is universally accepted as providing the basis upon which societies preserve their heritage; develop the skills and talents of their people; respond to economic, political and social needs and provide for the overall development and prosperity of countries. European countries provide for compulsory schooling for all children between certain ages, with a concentration in the early years on the development of literacy and numeracy skills. Research suggests, however, that school curricula traditionally were underpinned by philosophies of what constitutes “boys’” education and “girls’” education and that the “gendering” of curricula was accepted as a curriculum feature rather than a curriculum problem or a phenomenon requiring specific attention. Reflecting societies’ values and practices, traditionally, boys were educated to participate in the economic and public spheres of the life of a country and to become the family breadwinners, while girls were educated to become mainly homemakers.

13. Despite the changes that have taken place in European societies over the past three decades, including the enactment of a large body of equality legislation, in a recent study of the take up of science subjects by senior cycle students (ages 16-18 years) in Irish post-primary schools (Ryan, 2006)2 career guidance staff identified “family life” as an important consideration in career choice for females but not for males. The notion of ‘tradition’ was invoked to account for student take up of physics, (traditionally physics was perceived to be a boys’ subject and significantly more boys than girls studied this subject).

14. Schools play a decisive role in fostering and promoting democratic values and behaviours and in making mentalities change. Gender equality practices in schools are at the very core of gender mainstreaming implementation. Inequality often is more a consequence of insufficient awareness than deliberate wrong doing. It needs a renewed commitment of schools to gender equality in order to challenge negative stereotypes and to advance and maximise the potential of young women. This commitment must come from the top. All educational staff should receive proper training on gender equality and its implementation on different levels. This includes awareness raising, developing tools and skills to deal with inequalities and defining a global strategy for promoting gender mainstreaming on all levels (Final report of the Group of Specialists on Promoting Gender Mainstreaming in Schools, Council of Europe, 2004).

15. The changes that have taken place in European societies over the past three decades have been profound and as countries have moved to become more egalitarian, this has been accompanied by the rapid development of technology, particularly new information and communication technology (ICT) and by increasing globalisation. The spread of broadband has led to the increased use of the internet by students to access knowledge and the number of third level and further education courses has increased exponentially, these have mainly been in ICT, science engineering and technological (SET) fields.

16. The increase in the number of females entering third level education during this period was significant in most countries. In 13 of the 30 OECD countries with comparable data, more than twice as many women aged 25 to 34 had completed tertiary education as women aged 55 to 64 years (OECD 2002). However, a majority of these females entered courses in arts, humanities, education and medicine. The numbers entering the fields of engineering and technology remained overwhelmingly male. The proportion of women among university graduates in mathematics and computer science is below 31%, on average among OECD countries, in some countries the proportion is between 12 and 19 percent (OECD, 2003)3. How much these choices reflect personal interest and aptitude, or direction and advice based on gender, is not known generally as factors such as the masculine or feminine nature of some fields of study; students’ own perceptions about their femininity or masculinity; and sex role stereotyping all add to the complexity of the educational and social experiences of young people. In this context, it is noteworthy that past international assessments indicate that relatively small gender differences in favour of males in mathematics and science performance in the early grades become more pronounced and pervasive in many countries at higher levels (OECD)4.

17. What is clear in the context of the education of young people, is that schools generally have not reflected state policies in relation to the achievement of gender equality. Examples were given of equality of treatment, where girls and boys are submitted to the same courses and the same treatment. It was pointed out however, that treatment of the sexes in the same way does not necessarily lead to gender equality. Neutral or gender blind methods do not consider gender diversity and may not lead to equality of outcome for both sexes (Council of Europe)5.

18. What is clearly called for is a renewed commitment to gender equality issues in the context of schooling – to challenge negative stereotyping and to advance and maximise the potential of young women. A robust strategy to achieve this end is required – one that is coherent from the constitution to the classroom. It demands political will, proper resourcing, professional training and practical implementation (Council of Europe)6.


3. RATIONALE FOR FOCUS ON GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION

19. The promotion of gender equality in education is a prerequisite to the achievement of de facto equality between men and women in all spheres of life in society; personal, social, economic and political. If men and women are to realise their full potential as human beings first and foremost, then the opportunities afforded to them in their formative years must not restrict their development by the imposition of obstacles based on gender. Despite the inclusion of the principle of equality between men and women in the national laws on education by the vast majority of Council of Europe member states, the strategy of gender mainstreaming throughout their education systems has not been fully implemented in the majority.

20. Gender equality is an integral part of human rights and a fundamental criterion of democracy. It is therefore essential that the achievement of equality between men and woman is understood and promoted as part of the implementation of human rights legislation and policies and in the achievement of truly democratic societies.

21. As globalisation and the expansion of knowledge-based industries increase, it is vital that countries ensure their sustainability by responding appropriately through their education systems. Countries need to ensure, therefore, that the talents and abilities of all young people are developed and that they are adequately prepared to participate fully in all aspects of society. This must take place in tandem with the promotion of an inclusive society, where all citizens can aspire to personal fulfilment.

22. Research in the areas of gender equality in education has found that the formal and informal curricula of schools continue to perpetuate gender stereotyping in terms of: the content of subjects; the expectations of teachers; the interaction between pupils and teachers in classrooms; the advice provided in relation to career choices; the value placed on pupils’ achievements. Recognising that other forms of stereotyping also add to the complexity of young people’s experiences in the education system, e.g. race, disability, - gender stereotyping compounds the obstacles that many young people, male and female, have to overcome while navigating their way through educational systems. Gender stereotyping, which limits the experiences and opportunities of young people in education, can prevent either boys or girls from reaching their full potential.

23. The active and visible promotion of gender equality by states contributes to:

· the enjoyment of human rights by all citizens
· the promotion of democratic values in societies
· the achievement of personal fulfilment by individuals
· improved social cohesion within societies and communities
· greater economic development and sustainability by countries.

4. CONCLUSIONS ON THE FOLLOW-UP OF THE RECOMMENDATION CM/REC(2007)13 ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN EDUCATION

24. The following statement from the Eurydice Network report Gender Differences in Educational Outcomes supports the findings from this survey:

25. While countries have implemented various different policy instruments, more general strategies are often lacking. In particular, although the goal of providing equal opportunities for women and men exists almost everywhere, fewer countries have identified explicitly the aim of reaching gender equality in terms of outcomes or have successfully implemented the gender mainstreaming strategy in the field of education. Although the list of potential policy measures aiming to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes is long, only a limited number of countries have put many of these into action (Eurydice).

26. Almost all countries have incorporated the principle of equality between men and women into national laws on education. A significant majority (34 countries), indicated that they have developed plans or programmes to promote the strategy of gender mainstreaming. However, from the responses to questions to ascertain who the targets of these plans or programmes were, it seems clear that schools were not, in a majority of cases. While it is important that all those involved at all levels of the education system need to understand the concept of gender mainstreaming and how to implement it, in the overall context of education, schools and educational institutions must not just be made aware of the strategy of gender mainstreaming but must be assisted in implementing it.

27. Schools are microcosms of the society which they serve. They transmit the values and aspirations of that society and respond to its needs in the preparation of children and young people for participation in the society. The design of schools, their ethos, structures, operation and practices reflect the ideologies of the broader society and in general these ideologies are not questioned or challenged. One of those ideologies held by most societies, which has not been universally challenged by educators, is the traditional perceptions of women and men and their roles in society.

28. Most European societies have changed radically since the middle of the twentieth century, some more recently. The rapid development of new information technology and globalisation has increased the speed of change in all countries. These changes have impacted on the lives of all citizens, - men, women and children - as traditional structures, patterns of living and participation in society have been transformed. European education systems, however, do not appear to have matched the pace of change in their societies. National policies in relation to the promotion of gender equality have not been transmitted into the operation of schools.

29. In most countries, schools implement a national or regional curriculum and appear not to question its composition or syllabi. Traditionally, school personnel had limited involvement in the design, content and development of curricula and syllabi. While this situation is changing as countries become more inclusive of all stakeholders in the educational process, a majority of teachers continue to implement the curriculum handed down, without question or challenge. Sex role stereotyping appears to be so deeply ingrained in the psyche of European societies, that legislation and policies have had limited impact overall.

30. Taking the five main recommendations to the governments of member states contained in Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)13, the following conclusions can be drawn from the responses to the questionnaire:

5. COMMENTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED
IN CM/REC(2007)13 ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN EDUCATION

I. Review their legislation and practices with a view to implementing the strategies and measures outlined in this recommendation and its appendix;

31. Forty-three countries have incorporated the principle of equality between women and men into national laws on education. Thirty-five of those countries have specifically addressed the issue in the laws. Less than half of the countries (21) subject all laws relating to education to a gender impact assessment (GIA) but of those who do not currently carry out a GIA, (22), more than half (12) indicated that they have plans to review existing laws from a gender perspective. It can be concluded from these findings that the vast majority of countries that are members of the Council of Europe have reviewed or have plans to review laws relating to education from a gender equality perspective.

32. It is less clear from the responses to what degree governments have reviewed their practices with a view to implementing the strategies and measures outlined in the recommendation. Thirty-five countries indicated that they have organised awareness raising activities relating to gender equality and gender mainstreaming for the staff of the Education Ministry and thirty-four indicated that they have developed plans and programmes to promote the strategy of gender mainstreaming in schools. Twenty-eight countries have assigned personnel with responsibility for the promotion of gender equality throughout the education system. While it can be concluded from the responses that a majority of countries have developed plans to promote gender mainstreaming, from the responses to related questions in the questionnaire, it would seem that the plans do not address all of the players throughout the education system. However, the promotion of gender equality must begin with legislation and policies at government level and a majority of countries have addressed this in their relevant legislation and policies.

II. Promote and encourage measures aimed specifically at implementing gender mainstreaming at all levels of the education system and in teacher education with a view to achieving de facto gender equality and improve the quality of education;

33. As already highlighted, the concept of gender mainstreaming is not understood by all involved in the education system. Specifically the process of implementing it at a practical level can cause confusion and in some cases defensiveness, as school authorities and practitioners tend to defend traditional structures and practices. Just over half of the countries (23) have prepared guidelines for all relevant authorities and personnel to assist them in implementing gender mainstreaming. Of those 23 countries, 13 prepared guidelines for the management bodies of schools; 19 prepared guidelines to deal with aspects of the formal curriculum; 18 addressed the issue of extra curricular activities; 14 addressed the hidden curriculum; 11 addressed the balance of representation on school committees; 9 addressed the special needs of particular groups of pupils; and 7 addressed the use and allocation of the school budget. All of these areas need to be reviewed by schools as part of the process of implementing gender mainstreaming. Schools need to be made aware of the need for such reviews and need assistance in undertaking the actions required to review and adapt existing structures, organisation and practices from a gender perspective. Less than half of the countries have developed measures aimed specifically at implementing gender mainstreaming at all levels of the education system as recommended to governments.

34. Slightly more that half (26) of the countries include gender mainstreaming and its promotion in the pre-service training of teachers and 32 countries responded that gender mainstreaming is included in in-service training. Awareness of gender equality issues; research on aspects of gender equality which have an impact on teaching and learning; and a reflection on teachers’ own beliefs and behaviour; all need to be addressed in pre-service training and continued in in-service programmes of teachers. Just over half of the countries have addressed the issue of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in teacher training programmes.

35. The need to raise awareness among school authorities and teaching personnel and to provide measures to assist them in implementing gender mainstreaming is essential for governments in order to achieve de facto gender equality.

III. Create mechanisms, throughout the education system, to favour the promotion, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of gender mainstreaming in schools;

36. All players throughout the education system need training and assistance in order to implement gender mainstreaming successfully in schools. Mechanisms also need to be developed to monitor and evaluate the process. These mechanisms could include self review, monitoring and evaluation; external evaluation; or combinations of these. In order to carry out such reviews, monitoring and evaluation effectively, indicators for use in the process need to be developed, to ensure consistency of approach and measurable outcomes. A majority, 31 countries, undertake evaluation, using different methods and different personnel. Some countries use more than one method. However, only 15 countries have developed indicators for evaluating gender mainstreaming. It can be concluded therefore that there is no consistency of approach to evaluation and no means of measuring outcomes and progress in the remainder of countries.

IV. Bring this recommendation to the attention of the relevant political institutions and public and private bodies, in particular the ministries and/or public authorities responsible for framing and implementing education policies at central, regional and local level, school management bodies, local and regional authorities, trade unions and non-governmental organisations

37. Only 17 countries responded that they had circulated the Recommendation or placed it on websites for the attention of relevant bodies or authorities. This number corresponds to the number of countries that indicated that the Recommendation had been translated into the language(s) of the country, or was available in the language of the country. It can be concluded therefore that this was a possible reason for its lack of circulation. However, it might be expected that relevant bodies/authorities of each country be informed by the relevant government ministry or ministries that the Committee of Ministers under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe had adopted the Recommendation

V. Monitor and evaluate progress arising from the adoption of gender mainstreaming at school, and inform the competent steering committees of the measures undertaken and progress achieved in this field.

38. Almost all countries have mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the implementation of gender mainstreaming in schools. However, only a third of countries have developed a formal means of measuring progress. Without a systematic means of monitoring and measuring progress, results may not be accurate or comparable.

6. IMPLICATIONS OF FINDINGS

39. Legislation and policies in relation to gender equality and gender mainstreaming in education while essential, will not guarantee the de facto achievement of equality of outcomes for males and females.

40. Systematic strategies, beginning with awareness raising, and aimed at all levels and at all players throughout the education system must be initiated at ministerial level and must be accompanied by robust methods of implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Tools to assist in implementing strategies need to be developed.

41. Despite much progress at all levels of society to achieve gender equality throughout European countries, barriers to the achievement of equality between males and females remain in: educational experiences and outcomes; participation in the labour market; career development; equal sharing of domestic responsibilities; participation in political life. There is still a marked preservation of patriarchy in society which continues to marginalize women. For the most part, men continue to be treated as the human norm and as a reference for performance (Council of Europe)7.

42. Societies traditionally operated according to norms developed by men and fundamentally for men’s benefit. Women were defined primarily by their relationship to men, and whether they worked in the home or outside of it, their work was considered less important than ‘men’s work’ The beliefs, held by many women as well as men, that consider these structures and attitudes to be normal, have proved to be the greatest obstacle in the promotion of gender equality generally in societies. Some patriarchal institutions and cultures continue to discriminate against women’s full participation in all aspects of society despite anti-discrimination legislation and policies adopted by governments.

43. It is essential therefore that traditional attitudes and beliefs in relation to girls and women and their roles in society, be challenged and associated behaviour changed. Otherwise all other actions and initiatives will be counter-productive. The process of implementing gender mainstreaming in education therefore entails a number of actions:

· modifications in legislation and policies
· communication to all players, outlining their obligations to comply with national and international commitments in relation to gender equality
· awareness raising at all levels of the education system in relation to issues around gender equality
· provision of training for all players involved in the education system
· development of guidelines to assist schools and specific groups of stakeholders with the implementation of gender mainstreaming
· training of personnel to monitor the implementation of gender mainstreaming
· development of tools to assess, review, monitor and evaluate progress

APPENDIX I – EXPLANATION OF KEY WORDS/CONCEPTS

Discrimination - occurs if a person is treated less favourably than another. Most countries have enacted anti-discrimination legislation which set out the grounds under which discrimination is prohibited, these could include other grounds e.g. race, as well as gender.

Equal Opportunities- means equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for boys and girls, women and men to pursue work which provides economic independence; to care for children and the home; to participate in societal activities; and to pursue personal growth and development.

Gender - is a concept that refers to the social differences, as opposed to the biological ones, between women and men that have been learnt, and are changeable over time, and have wide variations both within and between cultures.

Gender Equality - is the concept that all human beings are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by gender roles; that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of girls and boys, men and women are considered and valued equally. Gender equality means an equal visibility, empowerment, responsibility and participation of both men and women in all spheres of public and private life. Gender equality is the opposite of gender inequality, not of gender difference. The concept of equality acknowledges that differences in treatment of men and women, girls and boys may sometimes be required to achieve equality of outcomes.

Gender Equity - is the process of being fair to women and men, boys and girls according to their different needs, which includes equal treatment or treatment considered equivalent in rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.

Gender Mainstreaming - relates to equality of outcome and how this is achieved. In schools, this involves the consistent use of a gender equality perspective at all stages of the development and implementation of policies, plans, curricula and programmes. According to the definition of the 1998 report of the Council of Europe, it is: the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policymaking.

Gender proofing- focuses on the differences in the lives, experiences and expectations of boys and girls and how these differences are reflected and dealt with in the policy/plan/action. Gender proofing considers how the aims, objectives and actions to be undertaken will apply to boys and to girls and considers the necessary steps which may need to be taken to ensure that boys and girls are treated fairly and also have the opportunity to achieve equality of outcomes. It is this focus that distinguishes a gender mainstreaming approach from regular planning. It is important therefore, to retain the focus on gender throughout. Before proofing, any available gender disaggregated statistics, facts and information on the issue being addressed by the policy/plan/action should be gathered.

Sex - identifies the biological differences between female and male. Differences based on sex include pregnancy and childbirth, physiology and bodily functions.

Sex Stereotyping - preconceived ideas whereby males and females are arbitrarily assigned to roles determined and limited by their sex. Sex stereotyping can limit the development of the natural talents and abilities of boys and girls, women and men as well as their educational experiences and life opportunities.

Sexism - the practice whereby the activities, behaviour, beliefs, values, wishes, desires and motivations of one sex are denigrated by the other. Sexism is expressed in language, attitudes, practices, images and structures that contribute to inequalities.

1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.

2 Gendering the School Plan, Science Subject Uptake by Senior Cycle Students in Post-Primary Education; Lorna Ryan, 2006, The Liffey Press in association with the Gender Equality Unit/Department of Education and Science

3 Literacy Skills for the World of Tomorrow-further results from PISA 2000, Chapter 5 -OECD/UNESCO- UIS 2003

4 ibid

5 Promoting Gender Mainstreaming in Schools, Council of Europe, 2004

6 ibid

7 Promoting Gender Mainstreaming in Schools, Council of Europe 2004



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