Gender equality in education

Adolescents in the Nordic countries keep making educational choices along traditional gender lines, and consequently the labour market remains highly gender segregated. Gender equality in education is a way to enable girls and boys to develop their abilities and interests without being restricted by gender stereotypes. The Nordic Council of Ministers has therefore selected gender equality in education as a prioritised area for the gender equality work during the period 2011-2014. Some of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ activities within the area are described below.

ill_studier_226x271px_Emma_HanquistSustainable gender
equality work in school and preschool

To review the gender equality work in schools and preschools in the Nordic countries, the Nordic Council of Ministers initiated a study presented in this report (in Swedish).

The study was carried out by researcher Mia Heikkilä, and her results show that the gender equality work differs among the Nordic countries, including in intensity. The countries with clearly formulated gender equality objectives in national steering documents for schools and preschools tend to display active gender equality work at the local level. Denmark, Faroe Islands and Greenland lack such clearly formulated objectives. The Danish national curricula address democracy and equal treatment, but not gender and gender equality specifically.

One purpose of the study was ‘… to distribute knowledge about how teachers, preschool teachers and school staff work with gender equality in a number of schools and preschools in the Nordic region.’

Another purpose was ‘… to spread good examples as inspiration for further gender equality work in school and preschool.’

The report is mainly based on interviews and gives examples of how teachers and school staff work with gender equality. The book is intended to inspire educators to initiate or reinforce gender equality at the local level.

Conference on gender equality in school and preschool

Within the framework of the Swedish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, a Nordic conference on gender equality in school and preschool was held in May 2013. At the conference, teachers, researchers and experts lectured on topics such as recruitment of male preschool teachers, norm criticism in textbooks and other teaching materials, and gender equality work in school and preschool.

Gender balance in academia

During the Norwegian Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2012, a conference was held on the gender balance in research. The Nordic Council of Ministers also published this report (in Swedish), which describes the gender equality challenges in academia but also successful initiatives and proposed actions.

Gender awareness in teacher training

During the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2011, a conference was held on gender awareness in teacher training: Nordic Challenges, Future Possibilities – Gender Awareness in Schools and Teacher Education. The conference stressed the importance of teacher training that provides teachers with tools to challenge hierarchies and gender inequality in school.

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