The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.
The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Accountability for gender equality in education: Critical perspectives on an indicator framework for the SDGs

Research Partners:

Photo: School children in Zomba, Malawi. Photo Credit: 烈橋 曹/Flickr licenced under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Principal Investigator: Elaine Sara Unterhalter. Lead Organisation: University College London (UCL).

Co-investigators: Relebohile Moletsane (University of KwaZulu-Natal); Rosie Peppin Vaughan (UCL); Catherine Marion Jere (University of East Anglia); Dorothy Cynthia Nampota (University of Malawi)

Researcher: Helen Ruth Longlands (UCL)

The Framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015 set ambitious targets for achieving an expansion of education provision worldwide and enhancing gender equality. The Policy Document Education 2030 sets out the detail on this. Some new indicators to monitor, evaluate and build accountability for this framework have been developed and others are under discussion by a number of technical committees. This project aims to contribute to this work. We propose to i) review the scholarly literature refining insight into what is entailed in definitions of learning outcomes linked with gender equality, ii) discuss some of the critiques and limitation of indicators as a technique for building accountability, and iii) develop an indicator framework for gender equality in education that can support the work of Education 2030, particularly the monitoring of the SDG targets on gender and education (Target 4.7 and 4a) , while also responding to concerns of organisations that work at international, national and local levels. South Africa and Malawi have been selected as research sites for detailed work reflecting on a proposed indicator framework for accountability for gender eequality in education. Both have policies in place in support of an expansion of education provision and addressing aspects of gender inequality. Howevever, both face complex challenges of implementation. Through a series of key informant interviews in each country with partipants who have knowledge of the needs of the education sector, women's rights and gender equality issues, we aim to refine the proposed indicator framework we wish to develop . We also plan a number of interviews regarding the proposed indicator framework with key informants located in global women's rights networks and who work at the global level in multilateral, bilateral, NGO and large donor organisations. Outputs from the project will include a revised indicator framework on gender equality in education, with particular relevance for monitoring for SDG targets 4.7 and 4a.

Further Resources:

The research will be of benefit to the community of practice concerned with the indicators for the SDGs and Education 2030, particularly international organisations (UNGEI, UNESCO, UNDP), and national governments engaged with responding to the proposed SDG indicators and grappling with how to evaluate gender equality and learning outcomes. It will also benefit academic and activist communities, including women's rights networks, engaged in critical reflection on the translation of international policy frameworks into local contexts, the use of indicators as techniques of accountability, and how to enhance international action to support gender justice.
These groups will benefit from this research through the team's development of an indicator framework to evaluate gender equality in education linked with the SDGs, but responsive to local contexts as exemplifed by South Africa and Malawi and some critical views of activists in the women's rights movement. This will support enhanced information for critical engagements with the SDG process, and support work on indicators linked to Education 2030 that respond to aspirations for gender equality in education that go beyond gender parity.
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Project Status: 
Grant Category: 
Research Grant
Fund Start Date: 
January 1st, 2018
Fund End Date: 
April 30th, 2020
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