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 This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.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 This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Research for policy and practice

ESRC-DFID research for policy and practice: gender and education

Photo: Kieran Dodds/Tearfund/Panos Pictures

Despite recognised efforts to improve access of girls and women to education, many still face numerous barriers to access learning opportunities, ranging from basic education to higher education level. Several factors can hinder their participation and achievement in the formal education system and can contribute to significant gender inequalities in education: namely, the quality of teaching and insensitive gender teaching and learning environments, plus cultural and social norms lead many girls and young women to leave education altogether.

This collection of ESRC-DFID-funded research provides valuable evidence on strategies that can help to eliminate gender inequalities in education. Beyond ensuring that every child – both girls and boys – is in school and learning, it highlights new approaches to how gender equality in and through education can be measured, which is crucial to achieving more than just gender parity in education.

The collection also demonstrates the need to work together to bring about change. In the case of Honduras, for example, community and teacher partnerships are working to promote gender equality and equip adolescents with the skills and information they need to take charge of their reproductive health and complete secondary school.

The Honduras case also highlights the benefits of targeted social-emotional learning activities, which can be particularly effective for girls in conflict-affected contexts.

This collection is looking at new approaches to contribute to gender equality in educational systems. Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want provide new opportunities in the long struggle towards achieving gender transformative education.

Key messages higlight: new approaches to measuring gender equality in education which are crucial to go beyond gender parity; collaborative approaches to curriculum design which can help promote gender equality; and non-formal learning strategies that include skills such as social-emotional learning opportunities that can help promote girls' learning in conflict-affected contexts.

This paper is a resource for international development education and gender professionals, practitioners, funders and researchers interested in: research impact on gender and education; measuring gender equity and education in a development context; gender, data and education; raising learning outcomes and girls; seeking to promote girls learning and education; education systems; and teacher partnerships, gender and education.

Focus projects: 

School Children in Zomba, Malawi.

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)

School children in Honduras
This project will examine a number of questions regarding factors to support effective teaching in poor, rural communities in Honduras. The research will also provide a unique opportunity to develop improved measures of educational quality and adolescent girls' empowerment.
Children walking to school in Niger’s Diffa region

Principal Investigators: John Lawerence Aber. Lead Organisation: New York University

Co-investigator: Jeannie Annan