Gender training in education
In October 2012, Portugal hosted a good practice exchange seminar on gender training in education. The seminar discussed examples in the field from Portugal, Spain and Denmark.
Portugal presented their “Educational Guides Gender and Citizenship” launched in 2008. The Guides are addressed to teachers from pre-school up to the end of secondary education, with the main purpose of mainstreaming gender equality within educational establishments, thus gradually eliminating gender stereotyping. The Guides were designed to contribute to an effective integration of the gender dimension across the curricula. In addition, training was offered to teachers to ensure a real impact in the implementation process.
Spain introduced their online training course “Coeducation: Two sexes in one world” consisting of seven units dedicated to teachers and educators from Nursery to Secondary education. The main aim of the course is to make teachers aware of the differences among the sexes and to break down traditional gender stereotypes and offer educators a vast amount of reflective exercises, readings, videos and links to introduce gender pedagogy in their everyday practices.
Denmark presented two different projects: A children’s book including an accompanying guide for educators targets 5-6-year-olds in kindergarten. The aim is to challenge different expectations of how girls and boys should behave and breaking down traditional gender stereotypes. A magazine and film/CD for girls and boys together with an accompanying guide for teachers on the issue of the so called "porn chic", on the other hand, targets 14 to 16-year-olds at school. It discusses how differently girls and boys perceive their own body and how they are influenced by soft-core pornographic symbols and codes mainstreamed through the mass media.
The discussions during the seminar highlighted that the support and training of teachers was crucial when promoting the concept of gender equality. The participants further stressed the need of a broad political long-term commitment to gender equality in the field of education by the key stakeholders, the importance of a legal and strategic framework for education as well as the necessity of a long term strategy for the sustainability of projects. Working directly with teachers and students was seen as central element but also parents need to be involved.