Educate!’s Gender Project
Educate! has an outsized impact on girls, which inspired us to launch a comprehensive research and development project to better understand this impact and to create new strategies for addressing the gender challenges our students face.
Along with in-depth research through focus groups and key informant interviews, we created and tested interventions to support gender justice, including designing a more gender-responsive Skills Course, launching a gender workshop for Educate! Experience Association teachers and administrators, and challenging Ugandan educators to create a Gender Code of Behavior at their schools.
A Gender-Responsive Skills Course
We made changes to the Educate! curriculum to focus more specifically on gender equality. For example, course case studies now include more female entrepreneurs and women in professional leadership positions so that our female Scholars see themselves reflected in the success stories. Educate! Mentors also completed a comprehensive gender training so they can effectively facilitate the gender-responsive curriculum and be sensitive to the unique obstacles girls face in the classroom. Our goal is to elicit more female participation in class discussions and activities and to shift negative mindsets around girls holding leadership positions and working outside the home.
A Gender Workshop for Educators
Our gender intervention was extended to the teachers and administrators in Educate!’s Experience Association. A workshop for educators at our Global Conference in September provided an introduction to key terms related to gender awareness and gender equity. Working in groups, over 400 teachers and administrators identified gender stereotypes faced by students and co-created strategies for empowering boys and girls equally in their classrooms. These strategies included encouraging girls to pursue math and science subjects, calling on female students more often, and placing female students in leadership positions for group work. This workshop aimed to provide education professionals with additional tools to support girls in overcoming gender barriers in the classroom.
Gender Code of Behavior
After the training at Global Conference, the Experience Association teachers and administrators took the tools they had learned back to their home schools and led a gender training for their coworkers. During this gender training, the whole staff body worked together to create a Gender Code of Behavior for their school, committing teachers to five actions related to gender equity in the classroom. These teacher-led gender trainings in schools were ultimately able to reach an additional 1,187 teachers across Uganda!
Through an iterative, mixed-methods research approach, we evaluated the impact of these interventions and found that:
- Our curriculum positively influences Scholar perceptions about women’s ability to start their own businesses, pursue higher income activities outside the home, and be worthy of investment.
- Our teacher intervention resulted in both male and female teachers showing a significant improvement in attitudes about girls taking leadership positions, pursuing higher income activities outside the home, and actively participating in the classroom.
We Are Committed
Educate! is committed to the fight for female equality as we pioneer the expansion of skills-based education throughout Africa. But we aren’t finished yet. Our aim is to build a best-in-class girls empowerment strategy so that, as we scale, hundreds of thousands of girls across Africa can break free from systemic inequality and drive their community’s economic development.
Our research also revealed that we have more work to do to support our female Scholars to take top leadership positions in school, preparing them to be community leaders after they graduate. We are energized by the progress we’ve made and deeply committed to continually improving our model to provide the best, most impactful experience for the tens of thousands of young women we reach.