Gender equality ensures that both men and women enjoy the same status, have access to equal opportunities, and realize their full potential towards political, social, and economic development. The issue of gender inequality is a significant element affecting modern society and has penetrated in today’s classroom environment. According to Unterhalter and Aikman (2007), although the problem cannot be handled by education systems alone, schools can contribute to gender equality. Areas of fruitful action include addressing sexual harassment within the school environment, training gender-sensitive instructors, and using diverse learning styles.
Sexual harassment in schools, especially gender-based harassment happens often in schools. The act can be in form of sexual jokes, gestures, written sexual messages, being called gay, or lesbian in a malicious manner, and being spied while dressing among others. School-based interventions should address sexual harassment based on gender before gender stereotypes become ingrained in children (WHO, 2009). Initiatives such as encouraging victims to report sexual harassment when it happens, punishing offenders, and giving talks on sexual harassment can help address gender inequality emanating from sexual harassment.
Working towards achieving gender equality, schools authority and teachers play a critically significant role. In this case, it is important to introduce gender-sensitive programs in the school curriculum and use gender-sensitive instructional methods to achieve gender equality. Training gender sensitive teachers means providing teacher-training courses that help teachers develop an understanding of gender equality issues and ways to overcome such issues in the classroom. According to UNESCO, gender equality issues form an integral part throughout the curriculum and it is important to sensitize teachers about gender equality as agents of change. Mainstreaming gender equality into the different teacher-training courses will also help teachers to avoid instructional methods that reinforce gender stereotypes. Instead, teachers can be able to adopt and apply diverse learning styles that help reinforce gender equality in the classroom.
UNESCO. (2015). A Guide for gender equality in teacher education policy and practices. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
Unterhalter, E., & Aikman, S. (2007). Practising gender equality in education. Cowley, Oxford: Oxfam GB.
WHO. (2009). Promoting gender equality to prevent violence against women. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/gender.pdf
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