International Women’s Day: ADEA promotes gender-sensitive educational approaches

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, offers an opportunity for a reminder that many girls in Africa cannot go to school or must leave school early, for social, cultural, economic or political reasons.

UNESCO’s EFA Global Monitoring Report shows that the gender gap persists in Africa as regards access, staying in school and succeeding in school, despite improvement in enrollment rates. In 2011:
•    12 sub-Saharan African countries out of the 43 possessing the necessary data had reached gender parity in primary education;
•    and only 1 out of the 31 possessing the necessary data had reached parity in secondary education.

ADEA thus takes the opportunity of International Women’s Day to recall that African women, who constitute half of the human potential of Africa, are in the majority illiterate and most often restricted to arduous, repetitive and undervalued activities. This is holding back the realization of their potential as economic agents and limits their contribution to development.
ADEA also notes that merely guaranteeing girls’ ensuring access to schooling will not ensure that they actually attend school. Their school environment, for instance, and more specifically the presence or absence of violence, can be a decisive factor in whether they enroll in, stay in or drop out of the education system, as points out a research study on the subject, "Les violences de genre en milieu scolaire comme facteur de déscolarisation en Afrique subsaharienne" "Gender-related violence in schools as a factor of school leaving in sub-Saharan Africa" (available in french).

Recognizing the importance of girls’ education for their future participation in society, ADEA continues to include the promotion of gender-sensitive educational approaches among its priorities. The Association has retained a close relationship with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), an observer member of the ADEA Steering Committee, which helps ADEA to identify projects and actions that enable girls and women to attend and complete school.

FAWE is an NGO whose founding in 1992 was driven by the ADEA Working Group on Female Participation. It has helped to integrate gender-sensitive practices into the policies and national education plans of 17 countries. Studies show that FAWE’s initiatives have a positive impact on girls’ school enrollment, retention and completion rates, on their examination performance and on teachers’ behavior.

More information on FAWE at