Gender equality measures must apply at all levels of the education system, including the curriculum and teacher training, so as to end gender stereotyping and help close the gap between women’s education and their professional development, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution voted on Wednesday, 9th of September.
MEPs also call for more investment to ensure that everyone can benefit from high-quality public education, and increased representation of women in male-dominated field, as well as holistic sex and relationship education.
The resolution was approved by 408 votes to 236, with 40 abstentions.
Julie Ward MEP, who coordinated the Socialist and Democrats' work on the Report for the Culture and Education Committee, has enthusiastically welcomed the report, saying
"I am proud of the work done on this report, and what we have been able to achieve. It is increasingly important for Member States and the Commission to take action to promote sex and relationship education in order to reduce violence against women, prejudice, and objectification. Formal and informal education against gender stereotypes, and encouraging girls to enter areas traditionally dominated by men, such as science, technology and mathematics (STEM), will impact our society in the long-run, amplifying the representation of women in our social and political spheres. I believe strongly that fusing the arts with the STEM subjects, turning STEM to STEAM, is an important means of achieving that progress."
Abolishing gender stereotypes and boosting self-confidence
Stereotyping and sexism remain the greatest obstacles to achieving gender equality, says the text. Parliament reiterates its call to combat gender stereotypes, which can affect self-image and the decisions made by girls and boys through formal and informal education at all educational levels.
Members call on EU member states to encourage girls and boys to take an equal interest in all subjects beyond gendered stereotypes, stressing the role of positive female role models in schools, universities and science.
Foster relationships based on respect and reciprocity
Gender education should be a part of the curriculum, and school programmes and teaching materials should not contain discriminatory content, stereotypes or sexism say MEPs. To promote stereotype-free education, teachers should receive training on equality, and curricula and educational materials should be critically reviewed, they add.
Furthermore, Member states could consider making age-appropriate sex and relationship education compulsory in all primary and secondary school curricula, to teach girls and boys about relationships based on consent, respect and reciprocity, MEPs suggest.
To combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, MEPs urge the Commission to support the inclusion of objective information on LGBTI issues in school curricula. to fight gender-based violence, discrimination, harassment, homophobia and transphobia, in all their forms, including cyber-bullying or online harassment, says the text.