Feminist TIG Week: Kelly Grace on Promoting Gender Equity in Siem Reap

Hi readers!  I am Kelly Grace and have been working in gender equity in education in Cambodia through the Lehigh University and Caring for Cambodia (CFC) partnership.

In 2014 our team in the department of Comparative and International Education at Lehigh University conducted an evaluation of the Gender Equity program at CFC schools in Siem Reap. The evaluation highlighted the importance of evaluating the impact of gender equity programs with boys in educational settings using a mixed-methods approach.  While the initial focus of our evaluation looked at the impact on girls, it became apparent that boys were aware of the program, inextricably linked to girls who participated in the program, and interested in contributing to a more gender equitable environment at school.

Another evaluation conducted by Lehigh University at the same time and in the same schools found that students who participated in the Student Council program held less traditional beliefs and attitudes on gender.  This evaluation was careful to include boys equally in the evaluation.  We hypothesize that more equitable gender attitudes and beliefs arise when girls hold leadership positions that enables them to work alongside boys in these leadership roles. These findings reinforced the findings that boys too play an important role in promoting an equitable school environment and in changing gender norms.

Hot Tip: Consider boys and men as an asset when evaluating the effectiveness of gender equity programs.   Conduct focus groups and interviews with boys who participate in gender equity programs and are connected to girls targeted in these programs to examine a potential “ripple effect” on knowledge, attitudes, and practices.

Lesson Learned:  Evaluations focusing on feminist issues should have strong methods to assess impacts on boys’ and men’s attitudes and beliefs on gender.  These methods should be seen as an integral component of the evaluation and should be well planned.

Rad Resources:

Men Engage: Provides a resource for developing a program that includes men and boys and has a monitoring and evaluation section.

Gender Responsive Pedagogy Handbook:  Includes components of gender responsive schools and was used as a key resource in our evaluation of the Caring For Cambodia Gender Equity program.

USAID Learning Lab: Provides online and collaborative resources on evaluation and monitoring with some gender related resources.

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