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World Bank East Asia Pacific Regional Gender Workshop

Gender issues in the EAP Region are complex and multi-faceted.  While progress has been made on issues such as gender parity and access to education, attention to issues related to achieving gender equality must be strengthened.  Recently, the World Bank hosted an East Asia Pacific Regional Gender Workshop in Nha Trang, Viet Nam on 1-2 February 2010.  The UNGEI working group had the opportunity to participate in this event to underscore its experiences and perspectives on gender, particularly, gender in education.

Structured as a combination of plenary and parallel sessions, the workshop highlighted a number of key interventions taken at the regional level to tackle gender disparities and address inequality. The session promoted discussion on how to mainstream gender and establish partnerships.

Chemba Raghavan, David Clarke, Maki Hayashikawa and Sena Lee attended the meeting on behalf of UNGEI.  The panel also included Anupma Jain (Asian Development Bank) who presented on some of the gender initiatives in the education sector in the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  A primary goal of this session was to increase the understanding of specific gender-related activities, issues and concerns in the education sector and to highlight the mutual impact of larger social/economic development on the one hand, and education, on the other, for boys and girls in the region. 
In their presentation, Chemba Raghavan and Sena Lee gave an overview of the global and regional UNGEI movement - highlighting the historical background of the initiative’s establishment, principal activities and the partners and who serve as active voices for gender in education in the region.  Recent research and East Asia Pacific-specific statistics were shared to provide a broad picture of trends in gender in education in the region.  Recommendations were made to address multiple levels of bias, close the gender gap against boys and bridge the gender divide.

David Clarke presented on the “Equity and Inclusion Tool” which is part of the UNGEI EFA Fast Track Initiative.  He emphasized that equity is related to securing all children’s rights to, within and through education so they can release their potential aspirations; while inclusion is a process to address and respond to the needs of all learners.  The Equity and Inclusion Tool is ‘work in progress’ which has been piloted in selected countries in Asia and Africa.  It is intended for use by governments, development partners and civil society organisations to support a more holistic and evidence-based approach to addressing educational disadvantages in sector policy making and planning.

Maki Hayashikawa introduced the “Gender in Education Network in Asia-Pacific (GENIA) Toolkit for Promoting Gender Equality in Education”.  This evolving toolkit is now in its fourth edition and serves as a set of resource materials to train and help users advocate for and promote gender mainstreaming in education. It aims in particular to support the development of monitoring and evaluation of EFA National Actions Plans and programmes.  The toolkit most importantly trains users on how to bring a gender lens and focus into their work.

Anupma Jain presented on gender initiatives in education projects in ADB's Southeast Asia Department.  She presented key gender issues in education, process for preparing a gender analysis for a project, broad strategies used to address issues of gender inequality in education, and steps to improve implementation and monitoring of gender actions in education projects. She explained elements of the “ADB Gender in Education Checklist,” which guides users in identifying the main gender issues in the education sector.  She presented detailed information on ADB's gender action plans that have been prepared for education projects in Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Cambodia.  She concluded by presenting ways in which ADB, and specifically, the Southeast Asia Department disseminates its best practices in gender and development.

The presentations and subsequent discussions were well received by participants and further opportunities for collaboration between UNGEI and the World Bank will be explored in the future.  Taken as a whole, this event was a good opportunity for UNGEI to project its profile and share its accomplishments to date with World Bank gender specialists and staff from a range of sectors.

More information about this workshop can be found at:  

• Overview of UNGEI and Status of Gender in Eduation in the EAP Region
• Equity and Inclusion Tool
• Gender in Education Network in Asia (GENIA) Toolkit for Promoting Gender Equality in Education
• Experiences from the ADB - Gender in Education in Southeast Asia



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