Gender Equality in Education - Definitions and Measurements.


International consensus on education priorities accords an important place to achieving gender justice in the educational sphere. Both the Dakar ‘Education for All’ goals and the Millennium Development goals emphasise two goals, in this regard. These two goals are distinguished as gender parity goals [achieving equal participation of girls and boys in all forms of education based on their proportion in the relevant age-groups in the population] and gender equality goals [ensuring educational equality between boys and girls]. In turn these have been characterised as quantitative/numerical and qualitative goals respectively. In order to consider progress towards both types of goal, both quantitative and qualitative assessments need to be made of the nature of progress towards gender equality. Achieving gender parity is just one step towards gender equality in and through education. An education system with equal numbers of boys and girls participating, who may progress evenly through the system, may not in fact be based on gender equality. Following Wilson (Human Rights: Promoting gender equality in and through education. Background paper for EFA GMR 2003/4, 2003) a consideration of gender equality in education therefore needs to be understood as the right to education [access and participation], as well as rights within education [gender-aware educational environments, processes, and outcomes], and rights through education [meaningful education outcomes that link education equality with wider processes of gender justice].