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Stimulating dialogue on gender and education in Africa – FAWE launches new African research series

Gender equality in education is a primary concern of the World Declaration on Education for All.

Yet a significant number of girls who enter primary, secondary or higher education do not succeed in completing their studies. Many of them fail, are dismissed or drop out because of various problems they encounter.

The educational environment in many African countries is simply not gender-responsive or gender-fair.

This is just one of the conclusions of a new research series that FAWE will launch on 28 July at its 8th General Assembly meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

The meeting will bringing together approximately 100 participants from African ministries of education, institutions of learning, research institutions, development agencies and the private sector to discuss FAWE’s future strategic direction within a context of reduced donor funding.

The first volume of the FAWE Research Series is a compilation of eight research studies undertaken in over 20 African countries from 2009 to 2010. the volume papers asks a number of questions that aim to stimulate reflection, dialogue and action to redress this disadvantage.

What is the relationship between a student’s gender and academic success? What are the factors contributing to the gaps in academic attainment between girls and boys? Is there a pattern to these relationships and factors across African countries?

Why are girls and women less likely to choose science, mathematics and technology subjects at secondary and tertiary education levels? What social processes within learning institutions can enhance the participation of girls and women in education? 

What coping strategies do women employ to ensure they succeed in their university studies? And what are their career prospects once they graduate from higher education?

The FAWE research initiative under which these research studies were conducted was established as a means of strengthening gender research to improve girls’ and women’s education in Africa with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

The initiative seeks to set the agenda on gender and education in sub-Saharan Africa, and constructively engage and dialogue with government, policy-makers and other regional bodies on the appropriate approaches and strategies to adopt in terms of women’s rights in education.

It also seeks to support gender research on and by African women through a mentoring component, whereby senior researchers groom young women researchers interested in this area in order to build African research capacity on gender in education in Africa.

FAWE will use the questions raised in this volume and the findings that have emerged from the studies to influence policy- and decision-makers to act decisively to redress the undesired gender inequities that hamper girls’ and women’s fulfilment of their right to education and their meaningful participation in Africa’s social and economic advancement.



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