EfVET, EARLALL and EAEA kicked off the Gender Equality Task Force activities

Gender Task Force

On 24 January 2023, the European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EfVET) the European Association for Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL),  and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) jointly launched the work of dynamic Gender Equality Task Force. 

The Task Force is an initiative launched by three EU-based associations that operate in the sector of Vocational Education and Training (EfVET), Adult Education (EAEA) and Lifelong Learning (EARLALL). These organisations joined forces to gather interested members to launch a series of initiatives that encourage discussions on EU policies and strategies related to gender equality in lifelong learning.

The first informal meeting was chaired by Ms Sylvia Liuti, a Gender Equality expert from FORMA.Azione (EfVET Italy), gathering over 25 participants (public and regional authorities, representatives from European Institutions, education and training providers, and gender in education experts, etc).

Ms Noelia Cantero (EARLALL) explained that the initiative’s main purpose is to advocate for equal and balanced lifelong learning educational opportunities for all, which can only be achieved through the incorporation of a gender perspective in all EU policies. A series of preparatory activities were coordinated to launch this initiative, such as: the first event at the European Regions and Cities Week 2022 (see here), and a survey to explore the gender situation in educational environments.

The meeting started exploring Gender disparities in VET and Adult Education with presentations from Ms Sylvia Liuti and Ms Aleksandra Kozyra (EAEA).

Ms Kozyra (EAEA), guided participants through the Adult Education situation. The profile of a “typical” adult learner in the EU, generally speaking, is slightly more likely a woman than a man, 11.6 % of women participate vs 10.1 men in 2021, most likely young (25-34) and with tertiary education. However, Ms Kozyra, explained that, according to the “Gender and Learning Study” conducted by The Irish National Adult Learning Organisation (AONTAS) in 2021, there are men disparities as well, considering they are wary of adult education when not focused directly towards employment, while retired men are the least likely to participate. In addition, vulnerable groups, such as migrant and refugee women, as well as trans and gender non-confirming adults are less likely to enrol due to several barriers (language, negative experiences, safe spaces in learning, etc.).

The first official Gender Equality Task Force activity was a survey, launched in September 2022 by EfVET, EAEA and EARLALL to understand gender equality issues in educational sectors. Ms Susana Nogueira (EfVET) introduced the results and explained that it gathered responses from 34 participants – education providers (the type of organisations most represented in the survey), followed by public Authorities – representing 17 countries, from Europe and beyond.

Finally, participants were invited to brainstorm for future Task Force topics and activities. In particular, they agreed to share best practices in dedicated roundtables, seminars and other events, to open a dialogue around gender inequalities with relevant stakeholders, and to translate the discussions into actionable items where possible.

Results of the survey and other materials will be shared with the participants of the Task Force, if you would like to take part, please email efvet-office@efvet.org 

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