The education system on all levels is an important institution for reinforcing and internalizing gender differences and inequality in society. In addition to teachers’ direct and hidden attitudes which influence children, there exist densely integrated structural factors, such as the curriculum and textbooks, despite the fact that equal opportunities for all are written into the laws. Gender questions in the education system are important, because of their direct impact on students’ educational and social experiences which, in turn, have an effect on their future behaviour and life.
Since reinforcement of gender inequality begins already on the very first level of education, it would be sensible to start offering an equal opportunities for all programme already on kindergarten and elementary levels. It is more difficult to change developed norms later at higher levels of education. Rigid gender rules often set limits to the development and application of girls’ and boys’ abilities and skills, as well as their choices in later life. Consequently, the education system should be built to be as free of gender stereotypes as much as possible and it should encourage girls and boys to participate in all spheres of life.
Since 2008, gender and education has been a priority activity for ENUT.
Project „Education without gender stereotypes = more equal and wider opportunities for young people“
The aim of the project is to advance the knowledge as well as the need to avoid gender stereotypes in educational literature and materials in order to raise the theoretical awareness and practical knowledge of gender equality among educational staff, teacher educators, curricula creators, publishers and teachers alike. An analysis of the current situation will be carried out, where a selection of study materials (both digital and paper versions) will be studied. Within the framework of this project, discussions and training on gender stereotypes will be organized with the project target group and project partners.
The project also foresees training for experts, who will contribute to the topic even after the end of the project timeframe. The main output of the project is a guide created by ENUT experts on gender stereotypes and their prevention for the authors of educational literature and their everyday users. The guidance material is accompanied by its piloting to different target groups and its presentation during the final conference of the project.
The partners of this project are NGOs The Estonian Publishers’ Association, Estonian Education Forum, and Tallinn University.
The project is funded by Active citizens fund for 54 385 €. The fund’s donor countries are Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and its programmes in Estonia are coordinated by the Open Estonia Foundation.