Power, knowledge and politics: Exploring the contested terrain of girl-focused interventions at the national launch of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative in The Gambia

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Author/Publisher: Caroline Manion
Theory and Research in Education, SAGE Publications
Language: English


Gender equality in education has become a highly embedded norm in global development policy, as well as within the poverty reduction and national development policies of aid recipient countries. Despite such progress, however, we know little about the significance of competing gender equality and education policy orientations (e.g., human capital, human rights, human capabilities), especially in relation to the power and political dynamics at work in the enactment of global gender equality in education policies in national policy spaces.

This article addresses these gaps in the literature through a qualitative examination of girls’ education policy in The Gambia, a country widely hailed as a leader in the promotion of gender equality in education. The article uses an analysis of the produced knowledge of World Bank and government documents alongside the findings from an ethnographic account of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) national launch workshop in The Gambia to illustrate the central claim that girls’ education policy, on the ground, is more complex and contested than is suggested in the produced knowledge of donor and government documents. Moreover, the author's account of the UNGEI launch workshop serves to highlight some of the challenges and tensions associated with the global–national interface of efforts to promote gender equality in education.



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