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Home >> Equinet Activities >> Events >> Seminar: Gender Equality in Education

Seminar: Gender Equality in Education

May 30th 2016

Equinet, together with the Czech Public Defender of Rights, organised a one and a half day capacity-building seminar for equality bodies’ staff members about gender equality in education. The meeting took place in Prague on 19-20 May 2016.


In 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action targeted gender segregation in education, curricula, enrolment and retention rates of women in its action points to further the Education and Training of Women. Yet the European Commission’s Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality (2016-2019) reminds us that “gender inequalities in education persist.” As such, gendered study subject preferences and the gendered discrepancies in educational performance and patterns of participation are targeted as important policy areas for the European Union seeking to ensure gender equality for both men and women.

The collective experience of equality bodies as gathered in the Equinet perspectives Persistence of Discrimination, Harassment and Inequality for Women (2015) and Harassment on the Basis of Gender and Sexual Harassment (2014) echo these concerns. In order to find local solutions, the 2015 Perspective suggests that “equality bodies can promote proactive approaches” in a number of fields, such as:

  • creating and sustaining a culture of equality within organisations such as workplaces, educational settings and services providers;
  • exchanging good practices to promote an education free of gender stereotypes and rejecting all forms of violence;
  • ensure school curricula are gender sensitive;
  • collecting information on the prevalence of harassment and sexual harassment in schools to provide evidence-based recommendations to legislators.

In order to follow up on this proactive approach, Equinet’s Working Group on Gender Equality held a seminar to exchange good practices and deepen equality bodies’ expertise on successful measures that may be implemented locally to promote gender equality in the educational setting.

Photographic overview of the seminar


 (Click to enlarge picture)

The seminar, co-organised by Equinet and the Czech Public Defender of Rights, took stock of the experiences of equality bodies with ensuring gender equality in education. It built on previous work by Equinet in this field.

In particular, the Seminar aimed to:

  • Build capacity of equality bodies’ staff members in understanding, promoting and ensuring gender equality in the educational setting.
  • Exchange good practices on proactively promoting gender equality in education and getting gender equality concerns in educational curricula
  • Discuss and exchange experiences with and case work on discrimination in education
  • Update equality bodies on recent EU and international developments related to promoting gender equality in education


Seminar Summary (PDF version)
Seminar Summary (PDF version)
Seminar Summary (Word version)
Seminar Summary (Word version)

Read the article written by the Public Defender of Rights about the event in Czech.

Speakers’ Presentations


  • Opening address by the Public Defender of Rights (Anna Šabatová, Public Defender of Rights, Czech Republic )
  • Welcome and opening by Equinet (Evelyn Collins, Chair of Equinet, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland)
  • Keynote address: The importance of securing gender equality in the educational setting (Dr Victoria Showunmi, University College London, Institute of Education, member of the Gender and Education Association (GEA))

SESSION 1 - Setting the scene - Promoting gender equality in education

Chair: Evelyn Collins, Chair of the Equinet Executive Board and Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

WORKSHOP 1 - Discussion groups: Gender sensitive teaching

SESSION 2 - Combatting discrimination in education

Chair: Petr Polak, Head of the Division of Equal Treatment, Public Defender of Rights, Czech Republic

WORKSHOP 2 - Discussion groups: Preventing harassment in the educational setting

  • How to build a campaign to prevent harassment in educational institutions? (Miko Lempinen, Finland)
  • How to work on equality planning in educational establishments? (Anna Werner, Sweden)
  • How to assist setting up complaints structures in schools? (Nathalie Schlenzka, Germany)

SESSION 3 - Promoting diversity in education for women and men

Chair: Elisabeth Lier Haugseth, Head of Law Enforcement Department of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud

WORKSHOP 3 - Discussion groups: Facilitating less traditional educational choices for men and women

  • How to get more men into health professions? (Frode Rønsberg and Maja Malm, Trondheim municipality)
  • How to retain women talent in higher education and research? (Denise Price, Queen’s University Belfast )


  • Petr Polak, Czech Defender of Rights and Board member of Equinet
  • Anne Gaspard, Equinet Executive Director


The agenda of the event is available here:



Gender Equality in Education - Prague, May 2016