INDICATORS OF GENDER EQUALITY AS AN ASPECT OF EDUCATION EVALUATION
Gender identity, the degree to which an individual identifies with masculine and feminine personality traits (Palan, 2001), is an inherent characteristic of each individual. Education, as a process that covers two entirely distinct, and equally necessary, processes - socialization and individualization (Rorty, 1999), should consciously and deliberately plan, evaluate and continuously improve the way it observes this aspect. Education influences both personal and communal understanding of gender as it sends messages about the gender, implicitly or explicitly, deliberately or unintentionally. It is a context where gender discrimination can be recognized, analysed and discouraged by promoting and practicing gender equality, or it can be neglected and strengthened by reflecting the oppressive ideas of the society. Education process is fundamentally based on needs and traits of its participants, especially as individualization has become one of the principles of best practice for 21st Century Education (Djukic, 1995; Nichols, 2002). There is a noteworthy increase in gender equality research concerning: curriculum, administration, instruction and educational outcomes (Sadker, Sadker, & Klein, 1991). Contemporary educational policies in Europe, especially those created by the European Union, extensively include gender equality as one of their aims and develop indicators that can provide information about the level of its achievement in education. This paper analyses the recommended indicators through the prism of gender equality rights in education as they are described by Wilson (2003): the right to education [access and participation], rights within education [gender-aware educational environments, processes, and outcomes], and rights through education [meaningful education outcomes that link education equality with wider processes of gender justice] (as cited in Subrahmanian, 2005). The indicators are also compared with children's rights to education presented in United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as classified by Verhellen (1994): rights not only to, but also rights in and through education, with aim to analyse if the sets of proposed indicators can cover all aspects. With awareness of the complexness and difficulties that follow the task of defining indicators that can cover all mentioned aspects, it is argued that most of the documents are focused on more quantitative aspects of evaluation and therefore cover mostly the first aspect – right to access and participation, and suggested that more attention should be devoted to other aspects - environments, processes and outcomes. In the final part of this paper, as a contribution to the affirmation of systematic and holistic approach to the evaluation of gender equality in education, a set of principles and a list of indicators that can be applied for exploring and understanding gender in education and for measuring the level of achieved gender equality are recommended. It is concluded that in order to get “the whole picture” it is necessary not only to operationalize existing and develop new indicators, but also to connect the advantages of quantitative and qualitative approach in this field in a complementary way.
Reference: The paper is a result of a study within a project „The quality of educational system in Serbia from the European perspective“ (KOSSEP) supported by Ministry of Science of the Republic of Serbia [OI/ 179010/ 2011-2014]