Gender sensitive education

Equality between women and men is one of the European Union’s founding values. However, according to research studies, gender inequalities are reproduced in education from the earliest stages in multiple ways, including the official curriculum; the hidden curriculum; teachers’ ways of treating girls and boys differently based on their own gender stereotypes and convictions about the “proper” gender order in society; peer gender socialisation among children; steering children towards gendered educational and career choices. These gendered educational practices result in the reinforcement of gendered inequalities in society in general, and in gendered achievement patterns, career choices which may be disadvantageous for women, the internalisation of male dominance and female submission in social relations, personal relations and in employment.

Teachers who themselves did not receive education about gender issues are typically unaware of their role in the reproduction of social inequalities. In fact, in our experience, many teachers are simply unaware of the importance of gendered socialisation in schools but resistant to take up the issue and reflect on their practices from a gendered perspective. At the same time, there are teachers who do have an awareness of gendered stereotyping and inequalities in schools but lack methodological knowledge and/or practical tools to help them teach in a gender-sensitive way.