Gender and Education

Education has been declared a Universal Human Right and one of the Rights of the Child by the United Nations. It is for this reason that it’s imperative to examine, not only the importance of education, but to ask questions about why some children in the Global South don’t get to go to school, and what role gender plays in determining whose rights are denied.

Photo: ACDI-CIDA/Jean-Francois Leblanc

When we examine the issue of gender in an education system in the Global South, we are primarily looking at whether there is gender equality, and how big the “gender gap” is. Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources, and rewards. A “gender gap” will occur if one gender is more highly represented in an educational system; for example, of the 69 million children that aren’t enrolled in primary school, 55% of them are girls. Although the gender gap is narrowing in many countries that are explicitly working towards gender equality in education, there is much more work that still needs to be done.

Middle school students from across Manitoba gathered in 2010-11 to learn about & discuss all of the aforementioned issues. Through a simulation game, students got to experience first-hand some of the main barriers that boys and girls in the Global South face to attending school, which include: illiteracy, child labour, war & conflict, lack of water & sanitation, and poverty. Students that attended the conference have already shared their knowledge with others in their school and community, and many are in the process of taking various forms of action on this issue.

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Member Resources

The following resources are provided by MCIC members with regards to this issue:


Project CODE, aimed at high school students, and Project Love, aimed at Early and Middle Years students

Mennonite Central Committee Canada

Hello in the Classroom introduces students to experiences of kids in classrooms around the world. (For early years.)

Plan Canada

Because I am a Girl - Take action to help girls access education


Global Classroom features many primary and secondary resources, including “Kids Inclusive Toolkit” (secondary) and “A School Like Mine” (primary).

MCIC Fair Trade Manitoba Government of Manitoba Global Affairs Canada

This program was made possible with financial support of the Government of Manitoba,
and was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC)