Gender in Education: A Shift From Ideology to Action


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GENDER PARITY in access to education is a frequent discourse shared with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In last two decades, Most of the countries have taken a broad range of initiatives to achieve equal participation of female and male students in secondary and primary education. Nevertheless, positive changes in number and quality are still lagging behind the SDG targets. 42.5% of girls attended primary school in South Asia in 1992. In 2012, the situation remained unchanged. However, trying to achieve gender equality only by increasing equal number of participation of boys and girls does not help achieve the original goal.

Equal number of participation of both gender in education surely portrays equal right in access to education. But the notion of gender parity lies within a single psychology and actions correlated to this psychology. Increased enrollment of female student in education doesn’t necessarily ensures gender equality. Many people see girls participation as an important tool to eliminate social stigma which doesn’t necessarily alter the age-old mindset about gender equity and equality. This mindset is absent among the majority of the women, and women of next generation. Because of this, the amount of female participation has remained almost unchanged during the period. Actions, in agreement with sustained ideological shift of equal gender role, raises the chance of creating protracted timeline of continued gender equality. Hence, psychological change is one of the cardinal elements to bring expected change in gender parity.

Designing such catchy pathway to ensure gender equality is not straightforward. Gender issues are perceived differently among female and male students. To change the preconceived stereotypes of gender role, gender issues must be included in textbooks. Unique ideas need to be evolved to penetrate typical notion of gender role built over time in patriarchy. Gender issues should be addressed individually among female and male students as the perception of gender roles differs from male to female. Generic description of gender equality in textbook isn’t sufficient if it doesn’t stimulate the preset psychology to deliver the anticipated changes. Contemporary curricula need be restructured with evolving gender issues and notions of sex role and equality in workplace to bring the positive emotional shift.

Once the change is made, the group of thoughts can be implemented through practical actions. A positive psychological shift in sex equality could be carried forward though protracted course of actions in the society. If needed, school-going students can be taught in different ways compared to female students as sex role is affected by patriarchal ideology. On the other hand, school-going female students must be introduced with sex education and innovative ideas to increase their voice in patriarchy. A comprehensive and inclusive approach is compulsory to teach and preach both gender about gender role, issues, equality and equity.

If such gender neutral mentally evolves and sustains through generations, the opportunity for bringing positive changes with gender neutral role will be higher. This ideological change reminds us about Dr. Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach that focus on ideological shift by taking free decision to control quality of life. The emotional development of gender equality brings similar impact to make independent decision on sex role. The capability of earning gender neutral decision includes ideological changes and practices through combined actions.

The idea of increasing female participation among school-going kids will see the daylight only we have the ability to change psychological construction of school-going students from the early phase of life and transfers such changes through generations. The need of increasing female participation ought to be addressed among male students, and future generation also. The process has to be customized accordingly. Increased number of female students may depict access to schooling, but not access to gender equal world.

Equal access to education for both male and female students is one of the perquisites to ensure gender neutral world. However, access to education without ideological change may hinder the advancement of ensuring gender parity. School-going female students may take female involvement higher but this does not necessarily ensures gender parity in society. True equality lies in gender neutral behavior and practice instead of equal involvement of both genders. This report draws attention to the requirement of accentuating gender equality through changing gender notions, rather than emphasizing on equal participation of female and male students.

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