One of the most destructive barriers to gender equality in education is school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV).
This harmful practice, defined as ‘acts or threats of sexual, physical, or psychological violence occurring in and around schools and educational settings as a result of gender norms and stereotypes and unequal power dynamics,’ affect up to 246 million children per year, according to estimates from Plan International.
This problem must be addressed if the global goals of gender equality and of quality education for all are to be achieved.
As a member of the Global Working Group to End School-Related Gender-Based Violence, GPE is delighted to take part in the global 16 Days of Activism to Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.
GPE funds research on SRGBV in four countries
GPE takes school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) very seriously, and is committed to helping to end it. A key Global and Regional Activities grant from GPE is funding the End Gender Violence in Schools Initiative, a joint effort of GPE, UNICEF, University College London’s Institute of Education, and UNGEI. It aims to develop and promote a common and systematic approach to identification, design, and monitoring of interventions to address SRGBV.
This GPE-funded initiative includes activities to help to reduce SRGBV in Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Zambia, and progress is being made in the four countries.
This year, a report on SRGBV in Cote d’Ivoire was completed, as were trainings of government and civil society leaders, and a national study of students’ safety and well-being was launched.
In Togo, a monitoring and evaluation effort was led to assess the impact of a training of 60 primary school teachers, a policy dialogue workshop was held, and a scoping study was initiated.
In Ethiopia, a knowledge-sharing workshop was held, progress on a scoping study was made, and awareness-raising activities were held on SRGBV and how to prevent it in two sub-national states.
In Zambia, a high-level policy dialogue meeting and a knowledge-sharing workshop were held, and data were collected and analyzed, building the evidence base on effective methods for reducing SRGBV.
A GPE-funded global literature review sheds light on what can work to address SRGBV
Through the same grant, GPE also fully funded A Rigorous Review of Global Research Evidence on Policy and Practice on School-Related Gender-Based Violence. This is the first major global knowledge product from the grant.
The key findings of the literature review include the following:
- “The most promising approaches involve those working with groups of young people on gender, sex and violence with reflection on gender identities, social norms and inequalities that shape the risk and experience of sexual violence. Single sex groups (e.g., girls’ and boys’ clubs), sometimes combined with mixed group sessions, can provide ‘safe spaces’ for building awareness about gender equality, violence prevention and redress.
- “Supporting teachers and schools is paramount. Evidence suggests that women and men teachers’ confidence in addressing SRGBV can be strengthened by supporting reflection on their own values, beliefs and personal histories; curriculum materials and training in strategies to address discrimination and violence; and training in interactive, inclusive pedagogies.”
Partners launch new guidance on SRGBV
GPE is also pleased to continue its participation in the Global Working Group to End School-Related Gender-Based Violence. This working group, co-hosted by UNGEI and UNESCO, was formed in 2014, and has over 40 members representing the health, child protection, and education sectors, including INGOs, CSOs, UN agencies, and academic institutions and researchers. The group engages in advocacy and promotes good practice on SRGBV, including the new Global Guidance on SRGBV being launched today.
GPE’s commitment to ending SRGBV is a key component of its commitment to gender equality in and through education, as expressed through its Gender Equality Policy and Strategy 2016-2020.
For example, it is featured in the UNGEI-GPE Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans that is being finalized and will be the basis of capacity-building workshops in select GPE partner countries in the coming year.
Further information on how GPE promotes gender equality through its global and country-level support can be found in this policy brief.
The power of partnership is key to progress in ending SRGBV. Together, we work toward a day when all children have equal opportunities to learn and to thrive.