Welcome to Gender Wire! It’s a newsletter highlighting current gender trends and issues, for people pushing forward gender equality in education in Asia and the Pacific.By Naheda, 10, Bangladesh
Global Action Week (GAW) is an annual awareness-raising campaign on Education for All. It aims to mobilize additional political and financial support for the achievement of the EFA goals. GAW was held from 23 to 29 April 2012, focussing on early childhood care and education (ECCE).
ECCE touches on the most critical period in human development. It is when children’s brain develops the most rapidly and where strong socio-emotional support from caregivers, adequate nutrition, good health care and a safe and stimulating environment can help them achieve their fullest potential. Challenges remain in the region, including malnutrition continuing to be detrimental to child development in the region. 47% of South Asian children were moderately or severely stunted in 2006-2010 (UNICEF 2012). Education improves child and maternal health because it equips women to process information about nutrition and illness, and to make choices and take greater control over their lives.
Education opportunities are shaped long before children enter classrooms. The linguistic, cognitive and social skills they develop in early childhood are the real foundations for lifelong learning. Early childhood programmes prepare children for school, mitigate the effects of household deprivation, halt the transfer of educational disadvantage from parents to children and strengthen prospects for economic growth.
Read about UNESCO’s ECCE work here
In recognition of the value of investing in ECCE, such programmes are growing rapidly. Since 1999, total enrolment in pre-primary enrolment has more than doubled in South and West Asia, increasing by 26 million (UIS data 2009). UNESCO continues to advocate ECCE to Ministers of Education in the region, within the framework of the follow-up to the World Conference on ECCE held in Moscow in 2010.
This month’s Gender Wire helps you to discover regional GAW 2012 activities under the What’s Going On section, and read messages demonstrating the relationship between ECCE and gender from UNGEI in What’s New.
Most importantly, we encourage you beyond this week to get involved and do what you can for improved, gender sensitive early childhood education programmes.
Until our next issue: farewell, au revoir and hanggan sa muli...
Fuchsia, Adrien and Ayin
Asia-Pacific: Start Right with Early Childhood Care and Development
Global Action Week Regional Joint Statement by UNESCO Bangkok, the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC), Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), Save the children and UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) Joint Statement.
Asia-Pacific: UN Girls Education Initiative Joint Statement on Gender and Early Childhood Care and Education for Global Action Week
Affordable and widespread early childhood care programmes can help to ease the burden of girls from sibling care responsibilities and allow them to regularly attend and be engaged in school activities.
India: Responding to Gender and Cultural Issues in “Communications4Development” Education Tools
59% of Indian internet users access the internet and the wealth of information that it provides through their mobile phones. Being cheap and widely used, new technologies offer a useful means to empower women particularly through blogs and social media to create a valuable platform for women to express their opinions and let their voices be heard.
Afghanistan: Has Enough Progress Been Made for Women?
Investigating whether Afghan women are better off since the fall of the Taliban, Human Rights Watch researcher Heather Barr notes that while education is more accessible, more than half of girls still don't go to school. Every two hours an Afghan woman dies of pregnancy-related causes.
East Asia: “Region has Made Progress on Gender Equality”, World Bank
In working towards gender equality globally, the World Development Report (WDR) 2012 and the new East Asia Pacific companion study call for action in five areas to promote gender equality in the region:
• addressing human capital issues, including excess deaths of girls and women and gender gaps in education;
• closing earning and productivity gaps between women and men;
• giving women greater voice within households and societies;
• limiting the perpetuation of gender inequality across generations;
• and the East Asia Pacific companion study also highlights the importance of managing risks associated with rising trends in the region related to globalization, technology, migration, urbanization, and population aging.
Australia: New Bill for Gender Equality in the Workplace
The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced on 1 March. If the Bill is passed, new obligations are set to be phased in that will enforce more rigorous reporting requirements on gender equality in the workplace and establish the new Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Global: Gender Stereotypes and Female Leadership
Lack of experience, primary caregiver responsibilities, bargaining style and plain old discrimination all help to explain the gender gap in women leaders. Traditional career paths and the cultural norms that constructed and reinforced them, simply have not enabled women to gain the skills required for top leadership positions in many organisational contexts.
Sweden: Preschool Takes Aim at Gender Stereotypes
Staff at progressive preschool “Egalia” avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys. From the colour and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don’t fall into gender stereotypes.
WHAT'S GOING ON?
Global Action Week on Education for All, 23 to 29 April 2012, Global Campaign for Education
This year’s campaign focuses on early childhood care and education, under the slogan "Rights from the Start! Early Childhood Care and Education Now!" The main activity will be “The Big Picture” children’s drawings or photos of an ideal early childhood, with many other events and activities being organized.
EFA Crowdsourcing Challenge, closes 31 May 2012, Nokia, UNESCO and the Pearson Foundation
Share your suggestions on how mobile communication can help improve gender parity and equality in education.
International Girls in ICT Day, 26 April 2012, International Telecommunications Union
International Girls’ in ICT Day wants to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICT), thereby redressing gender disparities in the industry.
Download the toolkit here: The WITNET 2012 Girls in ICT Day Toolkit
Asia-Pacific Regional Workshops on Gender-Based Violence: Partners for Prevention, Bangkok Thailand, 2-4 July 2012. Deadline for applications 8 June 2012
Pakistan: Oxfam's Girls' Education Campaign: “Dunya Aur Larki”
Aiming to speak to illiterate learners and promote women’s empowerment, this animated video rotates around the life experiences of many underprivileged girls in Pakistan. This story is told through the eyes of a young girl who simply wants to go to school and have a better future; not only for her but for the community around her.
Nepal: To Educate A Girl - Radio Stories, UNGEI
Three young listeners of a popular youth-oriented radio program tell how it helped them deal with issues of early marriage and poverty in order to stay in school.
Global: Choices for Girls, Plan UK
Jasmine from the UK, Sur from Thailand and Bintou from Mali, tell the story of how their choices about education have shaped their lives.
India: Can a Free Bike Help a Girl's Education in Northern India?
Innovative Challenges, Rockefeller Foundation, $100,000, Closes 25 May 2012
Share how you would use data to create change that improves the quality of life of poor or vulnerable communities in cities, and potentially receive up to $100,000 to further explore your idea.
Project Inspire “5 minutes to change the world”, Singapore Institute and Mastercard, $25,000 Grant Opportunity, Closes 30 June 2012
This competition for women’s empowerment aims to help young changemakers create a better world of opportunities for women and girls in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.