Parliament’s Smt. Supriya Sule Attends Meeting on Promoting Gender Equality in Schools

Press Release Subtitle

Experts say school-based programs on gender equality can help improve girls’ value in society

NEW DELHI, Aug. 1, 2011 – The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), together with the Committee of Resource Organizations for Literacy (CORO) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), on Aug. 5-6 in Mumbai will convene educators, nongovernmental organizations and government officials – including Honorable Member of Parliament Smt. Supriya Sule – to discuss how to incorporate lessons on gender equality in Maharashtra schools.

The meeting, “Encouraging Gender Equality,” also will showcase new evidence from ICRW’s Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS) program in 45 Mumbai municipal schools. Findings show that boys and girls who participated in the program became less tolerant of gender discrimination, more supportive of girls pursuing an education and of boys and men contributing to household work. GEMS targets 8,000 12- to 14-year-olds in Mumbai municipal schools and is implemented in partnership with CORO and TISS.

GEMS and the “Encouraging Gender Equality” gathering come at a critical time, as girls continue to be devalued in Indian society and their presence dwindles: The 2011 census revealed 914 girls to every 1,000 boys – a significant decline from 927 girls in the 2001 census, and the lowest since India’s independence.

“Schools are unquestionably the most critical settings to foster changes around inequitable gender norms and to improve the value of the girl child,” said Ravi Verma, director of the ICRW Asia Regional Office in New Delhi. “We need to intentionally work against gender stereotypes that are formally and informally reinforced within the Indian school settings. GEMS is an attempt in that direction.”

Launched in 2008, GEMS champions equal relationships between girls and boys, dissects social norms that often define men’s and women’s roles in society and addresses how to intervene to stop violence. The program tackles such serious topics in an engaging way, through extra-curricular activities, role-playing and games lead by facilitators from CORO and TISS. In the 2012-2013 school year GEMS will be expanded into 250 Mumbai municipal schools, reaching some 80,000 students.

Representatives from ICRW, CORO and TISS will be present for the two-day meeting, where GEMS students will share their experience with the program and panelists will discuss how school systems can integrate the principles of GEMS into curriculum and teacher trainings. Other participants include Shri Abasaheb Jadhav, education officer at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Smt. V. Radha, state project director of school education for the government of Maharashtra, among others.

Smt. Radha and Honorable Member of Parliament Smt. Sule will give keynote addresses on Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, respectively.

Media Contacts:

New Delhi:
Pranita Achyut, Poverty, Gender & HIV/AIDS Specialist
Mobile: 09.91.0483554
[email protected]

Washington, D.C.:
Jeannie Bunton, Vice President, External Relations
Tel: 202.742.1316; BB: 202.384.0679
[email protected]

Mission Statement:

About ICRW
ICRW’s mission is to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world. To accomplish this, ICRW works with partners to conduct empirical research, build capacity and advocate for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs. ICRW is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in New Delhi, India, and Nairobi, Kenya.

About CORO
Established in 1989, the Committee of Resource Organizations for Literacy (CORO) is a community-owned organization working on holistic community development in the Chembur-Trombay region of Mumbai. CORO’s mission is to work with marginalized groups to achieve gender equality and eradicate caste-based discrimination.

About TISS
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was established in 1936 as India’s first school of social work. Its mission is to be an institution of excellence in higher education that continually responds to the changing social realities through the development and application of knowledge, towards creating a people-centered and ecologically sustainable society that promotes and protects the dignity, equality, social justice and human rights for all, with special emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable groups.