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MANIFESTO ON GENDER IN EDUCATION Proposed by the Gender and Education Committee of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), USA. Preamble In recent years, the world has seen several global declarations expressing agreement on issues pertaining to social and economic development. These include: Education for All, the Millennium Development Goals, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action, Horizon 2020, and the proposals for action emanating from the International Conferences on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) V and VI dealing with adult education and lifelong learning. In each of these declarations, gender is recognized as a factor of crucial importance. However, gender is often added to an increasing list of factors that create marginalization such as age, rurality, disability, migrant status, religion, sexual identity or orientation, ethnicity/race, poverty, displacement, and imprisonment, without considering its persistent and deeply ingrained social attributes and roles. While social inclusion is a basic human right, the framing of gender as one more disadvantage among others distorts the enormous impact notions of femininities and masculinities have on families, communities, and nations, and denies the fact that those who encounter discrimination due to age, ethnicity, forced migration, etc., are at the same time either women or men. Gender must be recognized as a central category, along with the salience of socioeconomic class, ethnicity, and “race.” Petition We, the undersigned scholars, researchers, and practitioners interested in comparative and international education as a disciplinary field of research and practice around the world, seek to strengthen collective consciousness regarding gender for empowerment through education. We endorse the following 10 principles: 1. We seek to understand and recognize gender as a deeply rooted social marker with pervasive consequences for personal and collective arrangements; therefore, we locate gender in a systemic context, one that involves multiple institutions of society, in addition to schools. 2. We recognize that gender is a category that cuts across all social classes and all other social markers, such as race/ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status. As such, it is a strong force shaping individual and collective destinies, not only a “problem” that poor girls and women experience but a structural dynamic that all women face independent of economic status. 3. We affirm that knowledge itself is a gendered construction and that it requires constant examination to question its assumptions, its representation of the world, and its prescriptions for social advancement. Preparation in the physical sciences and technology as well as in the social sciences and the humanities requires knowledge that understands the functioning of gender in society and how to alter it. 4. We uphold at all times the importance of formal education at all levels, nonformal education (particularly literacy), and informal learning, and the need to address all forms of knowledge creation and provision simultaneously. To address gender issues in education it is pertinent to consider persons in all phases of the lifecycle. 5. We acknowledge the link between schools and other institutions, particularly between schools and communities, in the configuration, transmission, and reproduction of gender, especially the growing role of the mass and social media. Increased research attention should be given to messages and representations that influence girls and boy’s construction of femininities and masculinities in opposing ways. 6. We strongly recommend that education policy and institutional governing documents must go beyond numerical parity in access and completion (a considerable problem in several parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and West Asia) to include the content of knowledge, the hidden curriculum, and the gender-awareness training of teachers and administrators. 7. We encourage interdisciplinary efforts in the academy to study gender systematically and comparatively in education research and practice, and hold that such efforts should not be limited to instrumental (i.e., employment generation) purposes of education but also to foster the development of individuals with a broader understanding of social forces. 8. We recognize that schools and classrooms are key venues where gender norms and values are enacted on a daily basis and that, consequently, attention to these organizations and venues must receive explicit attention in the understanding of how gender is transmitted and how it can be altered. 9. We contend that measures to reconfigure gender in society must include efforts to work on both recognition of different gender identities and orientations as well as the redistribution of authority, power, and material assets. The understanding of gender as both an ideology and a social order with asymmetries between women and men in the access to economic and political resources is indispensable. 10. We strive to be proactive in eliminating gender disparities by challenging policies and practices that reproduce traditional gender notions on a daily basis by engaging teacher educators and teachers in interrogating gender, by expanding our knowledge through more intensive research efforts, and by influencing educational authorities to design comprehensive and knowledge-based gender policies in education. Sincerely, Education Committee, CIES


The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) was founded in 1956 to foster cross-cultural understanding, scholarship, academic achievement and societal development through the international study of educational ideas, systems, and practices. As a registered non-profit [501(c)3] organization in the United States, the Comparative and International Education Society supports the activities of its members to: •promote understanding of the many roles that education plays in the shaping and perpetuation of cultures, the development of nations, and in influencing the lives of individuals •improve opportunities for the citizens of the world by fostering an understanding of how education policies and programs enhance social and economic development •increase cross-cultural and cross-national understanding through educational processes and by the study and critique of educational theories, policies and practices that affect individual and social well being.


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