The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 aims to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas”.
One of these development areas is Education. In the Philippines, gender issues remain a practice of “tokenism” in schools and improvements still need to be done to ensure safe and gender-fair learning environment.
In terms of participation in basic education, girls and boys are given equal chances with almost the same percentage share. However, curriculum and learning materials that promote gender sensitiveness and fairness persist to be a challenge in the education system.
Furthermore, the issue of unsafe learning environment contributes to drop-out cases in schools. The 2015 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children found that 80% of Filipino youths have experienced violence and 14% of students in schools have experienced corporal punishment.
Overall, there is an increasing violence among girls because of early marriages and teen pregnancies. Bullying lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) in schools because of gender insensitiveness among teachers and students is also a contributing factor to prevailing violence.
Raising awareness on gender equality in education among the school administrators, curriculum developers and writers, teaching and non-teaching personnel, parents and students, and involving them in identifying actions on how to realize it, are important steps in gender mainstreaming. Promoting gender equality empowers women and girls.
On this Women’s Month, the Civil Society for Education Reforms Network or E-Net Philippines calls on education duty bearers to:
Review and assess the curriculum towards gender-responsive education and develop gender-sensitive learning materials in terms of definition of concepts, interpretation of facts and events, meaning-making, usage of language and images/illustrations, and in employing activities.
Conduct continuing gender education to all education stakeholders. Integrate issues of social class, culture, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.
Implement gender-receptive School Improvement Plan (SIP) and school policies. Provide equal opportunity to all students regardless of gender in participating to school activities. Observe everyone’s right to gender-fair learning environment.
Promote gender balance in educational opportunity that matches with needs of industry and agriculture and equality of professions in the labor markets.
Develop policies that will encourage better balance of men and women in recruitment, teacher education, conditions of work or in the status of teaching as a career to be able to recruit new teachers or encourage other teachers to remain in the teaching profession;
Address the human rights framework and gender content of teacher education from the pre-service and in the in-service professional development of teachers.
Implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670) from a gender perspective.
“Edukasyong Ligtas, Sapat, Karapat-dapat at Para sa Lahat!.”