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Out in the bush, you’ll have to go into the pouch of a mama echidna to pet her baby puggle. Our Puggle is easier to find, showing up every month to share what we’re learning about emerging issues in girls’ education. Other posts provide our analysis of recent research and events and feature stories from our grantees. Explore more below, including a link to our resource library.

The Puggle: February 2019 edition

admin | March 13, 2019

Girls’ education got attention from the Academy when “Period. End of Sentence” won an Oscar for documentary short. “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” the filmmakers implore. While we couldn’t agree more with the sentiment, unfortunately sanitary pads are far from sufficient for giving girls an education (if they make a dent on education outcomes at all).

Indeed, some of the most daunting challenges for girls and their education have little to do with gender. They have to do with school systems that are failing to teach students. While this isn’t by and large a gendered problem, it is a girls’ problem. The latest evidence of this comes from the results of PISA for Development, which indicates that “Learning is lower, and the need for improved learning greater, than indicated even by the most thorough current attempt to compare countries internationally.” Low learning cuts across rich and poor in many countries, as this blog and paper highlight. ”Achieving universal literacy and numeracy to accomplish even a minimal standard of global absolute equity will require more than just closing the rich-poor learning gap, it will take progress in learning for all.”

Solving the learning challenges is crucial, but far from straightforward. For instance, a recent article in The Economist highlights the complexity of deciding the language in which children should be taught. Parents demand English instruction, even though research shows that instruction in mother tongue leads to better outcomes (including to better English outcomes). And yet it’s not always easy or obvious how to deliver instruction in mother tongue in multilingual countries.

Another daunting challenge for girls is that learning and schooling alone are not enough to overcome gender barriers. For instance, another recent article from The Economist discusses the decline of female labor force participation in India despite the increase in education for women (a problem that appears to be even worse for rural women in India). It describes a program run by Breakthrough that gives “lessons about gender stereotypes to 11- to 13-year-olds.” A recent evaluation shows that the program is making a dent in how students view gender norms. For example, boys who attended the class “were much less likely to agree that women ought to be housewives, and that men should get the final say on decisions.”

For a great set of background slides on gender inequality in India that set the context for this work (e.g. did you know that girls are breastfed for a shorter duration than boys in India?), check out this twitter thread. For an even broader look and gender inequity across countries around marriage, options outside marriage, and laws and cultural norms, here is a good summary of the book Towards Gender Equity in Development.

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and VVOB are banking on tackling gender stereotypes even earlier. Their new toolkit on gender-responsive pedagogy for early childhood education aims to counter the strong gender biases that take root in children ages 3 to 7. “The toolkit enables teachers of the early years to not only become aware of their gender biases and overcome them, it also supports them to proactively challenge budding gender stereotypical ideas in their learners.”

Looking for other efforts that will drive impact for girls? Want to know how to evaluate whether they’re effective? Check out J-PAL’s Executive Education course on Evaluating Social Programs. Applications due here by Friday, April 12, 2019.

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  • The Puggle: February 2019 edition

    admin | March 13, 2019

    Girls’ education got attention from the Academy when “Period. End of Sentence” won an Oscar for documentary short. “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” the filmmakers implore. While we couldn’t agree more with the sentiment, unfortunately sanitary pads are far from sufficient for giving girls an education (if they make a dent on education outcomes at all).

    Indeed, some of the most daunting challenges for girls and their education have little to do with gender. They have to do with school systems that are failing to teach students. While this isn’t by and large a gendered problem, it is a girls’ problem. The latest evidence of this comes from the results of PISA for Development, which indicates that “Learning is lower, and the need for improved learning greater, than indicated even by the most thorough current attempt to compare countries internationally.” Low learning cuts across rich and poor in many countries, as this blog and paper highlight. ”Achieving universal literacy and numeracy to accomplish even a minimal standard of global absolute equity will require more than just closing the rich-poor learning gap, it will take progress in learning for all.”

    Solving the learning challenges is crucial, but far from straightforward. For instance, a recent article in The Economist highlights the complexity of deciding the language in which children should be taught. Parents demand English instruction, even though research shows that instruction in mother tongue leads to better outcomes (including to better English outcomes). And yet it’s not always easy or obvious how to deliver instruction in mother tongue in multilingual countries.

    Another daunting challenge for girls is that learning and schooling alone are not enough to overcome gender barriers. For instance, another recent article from The Economist discusses the decline of female labor force participation in India despite the increase in education for women (a problem that appears to be even worse for rural women in India). It describes a program run by Breakthrough that gives “lessons about gender stereotypes to 11- to 13-year-olds.” A recent evaluation shows that the program is making a dent in how students view gender norms. For example, boys who attended the class “were much less likely to agree that women ought to be housewives, and that men should get the final say on decisions.”

    For a great set of background slides on gender inequality in India that set the context for this work (e.g. did you know that girls are breastfed for a shorter duration than boys in India?), check out this twitter thread. For an even broader look and gender inequity across countries around marriage, options outside marriage, and laws and cultural norms, here is a good summary of the book Towards Gender Equity in Development.

    The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and VVOB are banking on tackling gender stereotypes even earlier. Their new toolkit on gender-responsive pedagogy for early childhood education aims to counter the strong gender biases that take root in children ages 3 to 7. “The toolkit enables teachers of the early years to not only become aware of their gender biases and overcome them, it also supports them to proactively challenge budding gender stereotypical ideas in their learners.”

    Looking for other efforts that will drive impact for girls? Want to know how to evaluate whether they’re effective? Check out J-PAL’s Executive Education course on Evaluating Social Programs. Applications due here by Friday, April 12, 2019.

  • Recent posts

    • FEBRUARY

    • JANUARY

      Ed quality in 3 charts, a new teacher observation tool,

    • JANUARY

      In 2019, our team will spend considerable time and effort

    Load Older Posts

    Older posts

    • DECEMBER

      2018 Is A (W)rap

    • NOVEMBER

      What's social and emotional learning got to do with it?

    • OCTOBER

      Obama's Global Girls Alliance, The Human Campital Index, and India's

    • SEPTEMBER

      Three themes on girls' education from UNGA

    • AUGUST

      Before we get to our usual Puggle updates, we have

    • JULY

      We’re at the peak of vacation season in the Northern

    • JUNE

      The G7 summit in Canada in early June catalyzed a $3

    • MAY

      This month we’re diving deep on a topic related to

    • APRIL

      April marked the first full month of a new season

    • MARCH

      In this update from March, we celebrate the march of progress

    • FEBRUARY

      This month brought encouraging news on aid to education.

    • JANUARY

      This month, champions spoke up for girls: Oprah made a rousing

    • DECEMBER

      This month we are keeping it short and sweet. In

    • NOVEMBER

      This month we are excited to share a piece we published

    • JANUARY

      The latest World Development Report focuses exclusively on education for the first

    • OCTOBER

      Echidna Giving team highlights emerging issues and findings related to

    • SEPTEMBER

      This month the World Bank released the World Development Report (WDR). For

    • AUGUST

      August offered plenty of great material, including a collection of essays from

    • JULY

      There is a notion that things slow down during the

    • JUNE

    • MAY

      In May, the Center For Universal Education (CUE) and the

    • APRIL

      In April, the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings served

    • MARCH

      March 8th marked International Women’s Day. This month we were

    • FEBRUARY

      Even if every single girl completed at least 6 grades

    • JANUARY

      News in January seemed to be dominated by the new

    • JANUARY

      In 2016, the Echidna Giving team reviewed literature related to

    • DECEMBER

      Welcome to the end-of-year installment of The Puggle. In this

    • NOVEMBER

      In September, the Echidna Giving team joined the masses of

    • OCTOBER

      In case you missed it, on October 11 the world celebrated

    • SEPTEMBER

      It turns out September was a busy month for

    • AUGUST

      This August we couldn’t help but be inspired by the Olympics!

    • JULY

      Echidna Giving is delighted to launch our blog, a space

  • We believe in exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge. Here’s some of what we’ve been reading to inform our thinking on girls’ education. Feel free to suggest additional resources for us to read and feature!