Girls’ schooling, gender equity, and the global education and development agenda : conceptual disconnections, political struggles, and the difficulties of practice

Abstract

This article reviews ten years of political and analytical discussions regarding the global development agenda on girls’ schooling and gender equity. It considers struggles over the purpose and realizability of the global agenda, and attempts to widen frameworks to go beyond gender parity in access and enrollment. Drawing on a case study of one global NGO that took a women’s rights approach, it shows how difficult it has been, even in the best kind of organizational environment, to realize a women’s rights agenda that linked education to other forms of empowerment. These difficulties are confirmed by critical reflections on participation in the conference convened to review ten years of the work of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). However, the conclusions, while acknowledging problems of multiple sites of action, silences, and the attenuation of transformatory agendas, nonetheless point to a richer conceptual vocabulary, a wider range of actors, and clearer strategic orientation than a decade ago.

Citation

Unterhalter, E. Girls’ Schooling, Gender Equity, and the Global Education and Development Agenda: Conceptual Disconnections, Political Struggles, and the Difficulties of Practice. Feminist Formations (2011) 23 (3) 1-22. [DOI: 10.1353/ff.2011.0045]

Girls’ schooling, gender equity, and the global education and development agenda : conceptual disconnections, political struggles, and the difficulties of practice

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