“If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a family.”
An African proverb
Gender equality is not only a part of American culture and society, but it is becoming increasingly accepted as a crucial part of modern industrialized culture and societies around the world. Educational institutions around the world are the beacons of knowledge and should be teaching new generations about gender equality and acceptance.
At a glance, education looks pretty gender-equal, when counting the number of boys and girls attending school. Yet, in about half of the world’s countries, school enrollment is actually equal across genders. In fact, the overall appearance of equality shows two gaps: In some countries, boys still outnumber girls in secondary school enrollment, while in others, boys are dropping out of school while the girls continue to study. The vast gender disparities still remain at higher levels of education, particularly in Africa and South Asia, as well as drop out rates.
The concerning fact is that despite the progress that has been achieved over the years in terms of expanding enrollment (particularly at the primary level education) so many children and youth remain out of school around the world, the majority of whom are girls. Millions of girls and young women across the world still face huge obstacles to education due to poverty, traditional values, lack of security, and sanitation in schools. While girls are primarily disadvantaged in low-income countries, boys are having problems in countries where household income is higher. Boys fall under societal pressure and think they should be working and providing for their families instead of going to school. They are more likely to be in a violent environment in schools and become the victims of bullying, which can, in turn, hurt girls as they may be used as scapegoats where anxieties are taken out on them. This, of course, results in a chain of abuse.
In these situations, it’s necessary that schools work closely with parents and community officials to provide equal rights to girls and boys, and investing in their education.
Talking about Gender Equality Issues in Schools
When it comes to talking about gender equality in schools, the topic should be first presented to parents. Children from different backgrounds, cultures, and traditions attend school. It’s crucial that their parents be made aware of the gender equality issue and that it is a discussion topic at home. Every child has a right to reach their full potential, and gender inequality prevents this from happening by limiting what children can and can't do academically. Parents are usually unaware of the restrictions and gender roles imposed on their kids. All boys and girls should be given a chance to try everything from sports to science to culinary skills. That way, children can define themselves by deciphering what they enjoy best.
Learning materials are also very crucial to child development. Updated books would help to improve the understanding of gender equality in schools. Students base their studying on books so it’s imperative that the gender roles in lessons be equal.
Teaching gender equality in schools can impact parents of the future because the message of equality will pass on generationally. Educators are closing the circle and spreading awareness of the issues on a much larger scale.
Providing equal opportunity for education is essential to achieve gender equality overall. Educators need to offer better exposure, clear direct teachings of the relevance, and the importance of gender equality not just for the children but to their parents as well.