Developing whole-school Gender Equality Charter Marks in order to overcome gender stereotyping in education across Europe

Duration: 
September, 2017 to August, 2019
Funding: 
EC DG Justice
Research Area: 

The main objective of the project is to create whole-school change in schools for 13–18 year olds, that will impact on young people’s expectations of gender roles and challenge gender stereotyping through the creation of a Gender Equality Charter Mark (GECM) quality standard and accreditation tool. This tool will enable a school to measure progress in tackling the effects that gender stereotyping still has on pupils in relation to both subject (and career) choices and as a root cause of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in schools and the wider society. The charter marks created in three different European countries (United Kingdom, Italy and Hungary) will serve as a basis for the development of a Gender Equality Charter Mark that can be applicable in European countries.

The innovative rationale for this project has been built on the experience and results of a three-year Gender Respect Project run by DECSY, with 10 teachers in 10 schools in South Yorkshire, UK, with the aim to help children and young people understand, question and challenge gender inequality and violence. The current project has chosen to target the whole-school environment as a method of promoting gender mainstreaming because research shows that schools which are enthusiastic about whole school approaches are effective in changing attitudes, behaviours and the school environment.

The charter marks are being developed in national languages by working groups of teachers, gender and education specialists and researchers in each country and piloted in three schools in each country. The charter marks are being developed and adapted for the legal, social and educational contexts in each country. Qualitative research will be applied in each school to map students’ and teachers’ knowledge, awareness and attitudes towards gender equity before and after introducing the GECM.

The expected results of this project are that headteachers, senior leadership teams and teachers in the target schools in each country will show improved knowledge, understanding and increased awareness of the effects of gender stereotyping on young people making subject and career choices. On completion of a year’s trialling of the processes for accreditation of the Gender Equality Charter Mark (GECM), the expectation is that target schools will show changes and improvements to whole-school policies and practices regarding gender equality. While acknowledging that influencing lasting behaviour and attitude change is a long-term process, changes in perceptions of gender roles and awareness of gender stereotyping of pupils aged 13 – 18 in the target schools, will be monitored and evaluated.