What do we know about the benefits to men and women when gender equality is a critical and prioritized component of school based curriculums? This article reviews such positive outcomes by assessing the impact of structured, participatory and conscious raising education programs that promoted gender equality in school settings in Brazil, the Balkans, and India.
The authors provide a rationale to education based initiatives by reviewing the gender norms that young people learn in school settings, how school settings can be a site of gendered violence, disparities in educational opportunities and quality for boys and girls, as well as the gendered benefits to men and women’s educational attainment and retention. The authors evaluate how globally diverse educational programs led to changes in gendered norms among girls and boys as well as reduction of bullying, dating and classroom violence, and improved sexual health outcomes using both qualitative and quantitative tools for monitoring and evaluating change.
The evaluation suggests multiple benefits including the reduction of forms of gendered violence in school settings. The evidence suggests the need for approaches that recognize and target the contextualized vulnerabilities and disparities in the lives of boys and girls, as to promote critical reflection regarding gender norms among parents and communities. The authors suggest that youth positively respond to participatory processes and that teachers appreciate and use curriculums that make gender equality a focal part of school based activities.