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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



How can adult learning help to address gender inequality?

by EPALE Moderator

On average, women around the EU earn 16% less per hour than men. Women earn less over their lifetimes, have a lower employment rate and are more likely to be living in poverty.

Adult learning has the power to change this. How do you think adult learning can help to address gender inequality?


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Andris Ziemelis's picture
I would like to say, that learning is both biologically and socially determined in that the brain processes information in unique ways, and the interaction of individuals and their environments impact their learning. This reality is echoed in the terms of “sex” (which is biologically determined) and “gender” (which meaning is socially constructed). It should be noted that these distinctions are not mutually exclusive but rather nature lays a foundation upon which education efforts build. Without acknowledging or understanding that foundation, adult educators risk overlooking important aspects of the learning environment and teaching techniques within. 

Good luck! 
Cristina Allemann-Ghionda's picture

Gender mainstreaming, yes, by all means! However, depending on the target group and the starting level, it may be a long-term goal which needs many previous gender specific actions for migrant women before it can be reached.

Marcelle Bugre's picture

Awareness raising is critical in promoting gender equity, especially when using strategies that involve the generak public, increase visibility and enhance well being among persons effected

Marcelle Bugre's picture

Awareness raising is critical in promoting gender equity, especially when using strategies that involve the generak public, increase visibility and enhance well being among persons effected

Elena Galifianaki's picture

In a blog posted earlier today, on the occasion of today’s celebration, by the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education the author Dr. Vida Mohorčič Špolar observes that “we need to understand how to motivate women and men to engage in adult education, no easy task, especially in a more traditional environment in which gender roles are strictly observed.”

The author points out that there is an abundance of practice to learn from and consultation of available databases of good practice such as that held by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg is highly important.

Vanessa Camilleri's picture

Gender inequality is I feel an issue which whether we admit it or not exists. I work in the field of IT and I can say that although there are women in the field they are greatly outnumbered by men, even though research shows that women who actually study at higher education in the field of IT may get better grades than their male peers. Now the question you ask Mahira, is how can adult learning help to address gender inequality? I'm afraid I don't have a ready answer. I know that the gender inequality is very much a part of our societal structures and I know that education may be key to address this issue but I wonder if that may be enough. I think support structures and communities of practice are very important to help increase gender equality - but rather than equality I keep thinking it's more a matter of helping women find the balance between work and family. Most often the balance seems to tip towards family which may lead to a step back in the career sector. In any way, it might be worth considering that rather than pursuing the gender equality, we strive to achieve a personal balance - each person becomes an individual intent on achieving the maximum benefit on the family-work scale. Maybe that might indirectly affect the gender equality issues. 


Ajda Turk's picture

How to get men to participate in (informal) adult learning? This is also one of the most important questions in Slovenian adult learning. We can see women who participate in different events, creative workshops etc. But where are men? If you go to an event of Third Age University or Ljubljana City Library, you might meet 2 or 3 men in the group of 25 women. You can see an ilustrative example of this (with no men) in the video about The Study Circle Between History and the Present here: Australian Men's Sheds are a good example where men can learn.

However, we can see another story when it comes to migrant women or women with lower skills. There are stories how difficult was for them to enroll in courses because of the family, language or even local community. So it is important to work with family members and the whole community, which has to adopt adult learning as something that can benefit all their citizens, especially women (with children, lower income, migrants etc.).