The education system on all levels is an important institution for reinforcing and internalizing gender differences and inequality in society. In addition to teachers’ direct and hidden attitudes which influence children, there exist densely integrated structural factors, such as the curriculum and textbooks, despite the fact that equal opportunities for all are written into the laws. Gender questions in the education system are important, because of their direct impact on students’ educational and social experiences which, in turn, have an effect on their future behaviour and life.
Since reinforcement of gender inequality begins already on the very first level of education, it would be sensible to start offering an equal opportunities for all programme already on kindergarten and elementary levels. It is more difficult to change developed norms later at higher levels of education. Rigid gender rules often set limits to the development and application of girls’ and boys’ abilities and skills, as well as their choices in later life. Consequently, the education system should be built to be as free of gender stereotypes as much as possible and it should encourage girls and boys to participate in all spheres of life.
Since 2008, gender and education has been a priority activity for ENUT.
- Integration of gender aspects into teacher education and further education (SIHT) (2014)
- Publishing of a children’s book – “The day when Riina was Rasmus and Frederik was Frida” with a related methodological guide (2012-2013)
- Gender equality perspective in citizenship instruction (2010)
- Gender mainstreaming in the Estonian education system (2008-2010)
- Up-date the kindergartens – expanding gender sensitivity in Estonia’s kindergartens (2008)