Accountability for Gender Equality in Education (AGEE) is a collaborative research project proposing an innovative framework for evaluating gender equality in education. The first phase of the project (2018-2021) has been funded by ESRC-FCDO Raising Learning Outcomes programme.
The project is located at University College London, the University of Malawi, the University of Kwazulu-Natal, and the University of East Anglia.
Gender equality in education matters
Gender equality in education is commonly described by policymakers and educational planners in terms of gender parity. This entails counting ratios of girls to boys, and women to men, in relation to school enrolment, attendance, participation, learning outcomes or teacher training. This form of measurement misses some of the major features of gender inequalities in education.
Our research project, AGEE, aims to address the issue, enhancing the ways in which gender equality in education is understood and evaluated, by identifying the importance of seeing gender equality in education linked with other areas of social policy.
The project has built from a range of research on gender, the capability approach, education, poverty, intersectionality, inequality and an orientation to participatory discussions, to develop innovative ways to evaluate gender equality in education, avoiding the limitations of relying solely on gender parity measures
Local knowledge matters
The AGEE project team has worked with partners in Malawi and South Africa, using a participatory methodology to explore different understandings and experiences of gender and girls’ schooling. Both countries have laws and policies committing governments to gender equality in education, but both face challenges regarding complex, intersecting inequalities. In reviewing the availability of data and the dynamics of accountability, discussion groups in each country have highlighted important real life issues for an evaluation framework.
The AGEE Framework: data matters
The AGEE Framework has identified six areas to monitor and evaluate gender equality in education. The six fields comprise: resources; values; opportunities; participation in education; knowledge, understanding and skills; and outcomes. These six fields allow for monitoring and evaluating information on gender and girls’ experiences in school associated with access, progression and attainment and the range of relationships outside school associated with needing to address intersecting inequalities.
The AGEE Framework has been adapted and refined through discussions with a wide range of stakeholders concerned with gender and education, seeking to make the framework relevant and responsive to diverse contexts. To find out more about AGEE’s framework, please visit our framework page.
A ‘global community of practice’ has been built, which brings together those working or interested in areas associated with gender equality, girls’ rights and education. To find out more about AGEE’s consultative approach and building the network, please visit our community page.
Engagement is a central feature of AGEE’s approach. AGEE seeks to participate in processes of policy and planning that address gender inequalities at the level of the school, in social relationships around the school, in the education system, and in national and international policies, laws, and institutions. Organisations that have engaged with AGEE include the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), UNESCO, UNICEF, the FCDO Girls’ Education Challenge, and international NGOs, including PLAN, Save the Children and ActionAid.
The clear recommendations arising from the AGEE project have so far influenced the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring report Gender Review 2020 and the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring report Gender Review 2019. The first presentation of the AGEE framework infographic was utilised in UNESCO’s GEM Report Gender Review 2019, making the emergent findings of the project more accessible to wider audiences.