Dramatic changes are occurring today in terms of equality between men and women. However, there is still much that needs to be done in order to remove the barriers that limit men and women's opportunity to succeed, and fully express their personal strength and desires Gender roles affect self-image, interest, behavior and personal and professional aspirations from a young age. The educational environment is influenced by these perceptions, which preserve gender inequalities that limit the development of boys and girls.
The Educational Context
- Social norms regarding the different nature of boys and girls create different expectations that limit the realization of the potential of girls and boys in formal and informal educational settings.
- For the most part, management and pedagogic staff are unaware of the ways in which gender norms are reflected in the daily routine. For example, boys are more easily forgiven for disrupting, being messy, or being uninterested in their studies, while girls are more often expected to invest in their studies and be sensitive.
- Gender based violence is widespread, from cursing on the basis of sexual orientation, through social sanctions against someone for not being “man enough” or a girl whose looks are "not feminine enough" to sexual violence.
- Gender is a fundamental element of identity. However, despite this, a space providing for open and educational discussion of this topic is not usually available to teenagers.
- Awareness of gender issues is developing, however, most activity in this field is very limited, and generally doesn’t develop into a systemic change.
- The gender lens should be a basic element of all educational programs. However unfortunately, it is often pushed aside for more pressing educational issues.
The Israeli Institute for Gender Equality in Education, was established by the Society for Advancement of Education, with the objective of creating an egalitarian society, in which each man and woman has the right and opportunity to express and realize themselves fully and to live a better life, not limited by gender-based obstacles. This right needs to be realized first and foremost within the field of education, which constitutes the primary context for learning, growth, and development, and thus has the ability to stimulate social change and advancement of gender equality.
Gender-based attitudes are so rooted, that the only way to effect change is through conscious, active examination of our behavior through a gender lens, in order to identify and replace discriminatory practices with practices that advance gender equality. If this process is not undertaken with awareness and intention, the gaps will remain. Our perspective is that dealing with this subject is not a privilege, but essential for both boys and girls.
What does the center do?
- Working with educational and social organizations to implement practices advancing gender equality
- Development of models and tools in the field of education and gender.
- Professional development of teams
- Development and operation of initiatives and programs in educational and community settings
- Developing professional seminars, conferences and learning opportunities
- Research and evaluation of initiatives
- International partnerships
Yael Boim-Fein, Founding Director for the Israeli Institution for Gender Equality in Education
Yael Boim-Fein is an educator and social activist. Yael founded and directed the Education Department at Beit Avi Chai. Yael has an academic background in media and culture studies, , gender studies and pluralistic education, and is a graduate of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and the American State Department’s leadership program. She is an executive member of the International Gender and Education Association (GEA).