Gender-sensitivity: a training manual for sensitizing education managers, curriculum and material developers and media professionals to gender concerns

This Manual embodies the rich experience gained from UNESCO workshops in Asia and the Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States. Designed to be a road map for conducting trainings of a similar nature, it is a product of UNESCO efforts during the last twelve years to increase awareness of gender issues, suggest guidelines for a gender-sensitive approach to education, and promote respect for the equally valid roles that men and women play in their families, their communities and their nations.

Sexism exists in women as well as in men; it has no respect for individual aspirations, potential or abilities. In obvious and subtle ways, it influences the outcomes of a myriad of life situations the world over.

The concept of gender sensitivity has been developed as a way to reduce barriers to personal and economic development created by sexism. Gender sensitivity helps to generate respect for the individual regardless of sex.

Gender sensitivity is not about pitting women against men. On the contrary, education that is gender sensitive benefits members of both sexes. It helps them determine which assumptions in matters of gender are valid and which are stereotyped generalizations. Gender awareness requires not only intellectual effort but also sensitivity and open-mindedness. It opens up the widest possible range of life options for both women and men. As universally recognized at the World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, countries will neither prosper nor thrive unless they are equally supportive of women and men in their quest for a fulfilling life.

This Manual is about changing behaviour and instilling empathy into the views that we hold about our own and the other sex. It is a lesson in being alive, in relating successfully to others. It can be used for the orientation of policy-makers, curriculum developers, media professionals, adult learners and even the public at large.

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