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What is the status of gender equality in education projects?

The Praxis think tank has prepared an analysis to determine whether and how gender equality has been promoted in educational projects funded from structural funds.

The analysed projects included educational support services, career services and trainings for teachers and heads of educational establishments.

The analysis showed that project implementers are aware of the obligation to promote equal opportunities. On the other hand, next to the core activity, this issue often fails to receive enough meaningful attention. The main reason for this is the lack of awareness among applicants on how exactly to promote gender equality in their project. It is often believed that the promotion of equality is guaranteed when there is no discrimination (for example, both men and women can take part in a training). However, to achieve equality between women and men, not aggravating the current situation is not enough. This is particularly the case in education, where gender gaps are later also transmitted to the labour market.

What does the analysis by Praxis suggest to improve the situation?

The analysis makes a number of recommendations on how to better promote gender equality both in project planning and implementation. First, greater emphasis must be placed on identifying the problem, that is, on mapping the gender gaps. This requires the use of more gender-based data than so far. Without studying and knowing the reasons for gender inequality in education, it is not possible to promote gender equality in this domain.

Second, the structure of the application forms and reporting needs to be made more substantive and user-friendly. The question of the impact of equal opportunities, including gender equality, as formulated in the application forms, can currently be answered without paying full attention to gender equality. It is also possible for a project implementer to confirm, in the forms, that the project supports equal opportunities, without actually addressing the issue in its activities. The same concern is carried on to reporting from there. In order to move toward the desired change, the issue of promoting gender equality must be addressed in the application form, the guidelines, the evaluation procedure and in the provision of feedback.

In conclusion, if the project implementer is left without assistance and support in recognising and substantiating the need to promote gender equality, there is a risk that efficient solutions that would help comprehensively integrate gender equality into the projects would remain unused.

The analysis contains a number of recommendations for policy makers in ministries, heads of 2nd level intermediate bodies, experts and project implementers on how to make consideration of gender equality as a principle more efficient in education projects funded from structural funds. Read more from the report LINK

The analysis was funded from the European Union's Structural and Investment Fund.