'' Equality in Education is a fundamental human right '', says EuroMed Feminist Initiative

20 Oct 2022

Amman, 11-13 October 2022

EuroMed Feminist Initiative (EFI) held the Regional Forum on Equality in Education in the Southern Mediterranean in partnership with the Ministry of Education of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 11-12 October 2022. This event was organised in the framework of the regional program “Combating Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in the Southern Mediterranean Region” funded by the European Union (EU). It gathered over 120 participants from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia including ministers and ministerial representatives, Members of Parliaments, representatives from the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) embassies, women’s rights organizations, teachers involved in the program, academia, media, and experts. Participants exchanged best practices and challenges and discussed strategies to achieve a more inclusive education in terms of equality and representation.

At the opening session, Ms. Lilian Halls French, Co-President of EuroMed Feminist Initiative, emphasized the importance of the program, and the common process which involved over 1,000 teachers, 6,000 students, and more than 200 schools in all the countries involved. She stressed, “Only an inclusive education can offer the bases of a society that guarantees for women and men the same rights and opportunities.”

H.E. Dr. John Paul Grech, Ambassador, DSG Social and Civil Affairs Division of the UfM underlined that in the upcoming 5th Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, the 42 Member States of the UfM acknowledge that gender equality cannot be achieved without fighting the discriminatory social norms and role and persistent gender gaps in all degrees of education systems. “This acknowledgment and the consequent commitments apply to all dimensions of gender equality ranging from women economic and financial inclusion to ending violence against women and girls.”

Ms. Angela Martini, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Jordan, stated that "One of our key priorities in the education sector is to support the Jordanian efforts to ensure the inclusion of all categories of vulnerable students in schools"   

H.E. Prof. Wajih Owais, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, stated that “We are working on the fourth and fifth goals of the Sustainable Development Goals which focus on providing quality education and gender equality regardless of race, colour, gender, and religion."

The following high-level ministerial panel, moderated by H.E. Dr. Najwa Qubeilat, featured the interventions of H.E. Ms. Haifa Najjar - Minister of Culture, Jordan, H.E. Ms. Wafa Bani Mustafa - Minister of State for Legal Affairs, Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Women’s Empowerment, Jordan, H.E. Dr. Abbas Halabi - Minister of Education and Higher Education, Lebanon, H.E. Dr. Marwan Awartani - Minister of Education, Palestine and Dr. Randa Shahine - Secretary General and Director of Public Education on behalf of Minister of Education and Technical Education, Egypt. The panellists discussed countries’ achievements and challenges in advancing equality in education, stressing the importance of comprehensive inclusion in order to achieve gender equality in education.

During the two-days forum, participants discussed how to use the handbook ABC for a Gender Sensitive Education as a tool to improve equality in and through education. Social economic barriers and stereotypes that prevent girls and boys from accessing and benefiting from quality education and learning processes were also part of the dialogue.

Participants exchanged experiences and presented their achievements in improving students’ capacities, and empowering teachers in order to advance equality between girls and boys in the education system.

Jordan shared a pioneering experience in this regard, affirming the important role of women´s rights organisations in advancing equality in education which involved teachers. Grassroots organisations, experts, and decision makers focused on common steps to promote gender sensitivity in the education system including continuous curricula evaluations, partnerships with all concerned actors, and building on national constitutions and international conventions that guarantee the right to education.

The Forum issued main recommendations, among which:

  • Develop curricula that contribute to changing stereotypical representation of women and men
  • Implement programs that tackles all forms of violence against women, including the issue of early marriage, using the Manual for Teachers for Gender Sensitive Education and developing special manual to combat this phenomenon
  • Develop curricula for all segments of society, especially the marginalized groups to ensure equal opportunities for all.
  • Design programs about adolescent’s health within a national training manual targeting counsellors and health educators in schools.
  • Implement policies that prevent violence in schools.

To know more, contact: Amal Al-Faouri, amal.alfaouri@efi-ife.org, 00962-770707040.

EuroMed Feminist Initiative (EFI) is a policy network that provides expertise in the field of gender equality as inseparable from democracy building and citizenship, and advocates for political solutions to all conflicts, and for the right of people to self-determination.

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