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Over 1000 students, teachers and education officials join hands to promote gender equality in schools and communities

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Ha Noi, 26 September 2017 – School communication campaigns in Nghe An and Ha Giang Province, two of the most disadvantaged provinces in Viet Nam, empowered teachers and students to take initiative in bringing members of the community together to discuss and address gender inequalities that persist in their homes, community and educational environment on 14 September and 25 September respectively.

The two campaigns took place in Kim Lien Secondary School and Nguyen Hue Secondary School where parents, teachers, students, members of Community Learning Centres and provincial education officials came together to raise awareness on gender equality and the effect of gender-based stereotypes, biases and norms.

Within the Gender Equality and Girls’ Education Initiative led by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), the school campaigns build on teacher trainings and capacity building workshops on gender equality, advancing the practical application of gender-related knowledge and skills.  Activities of the campaigns included student- and teacher-led one-act plays, poetry and rhyme, musical performances, team competitions and the display of artwork and projects.

In addition to contributing to the Action Plan on Gender Equality of the Education Sector for 2016 - 2020, the campaigns highlighted the importance of mainstreaming gender in educational programmes, textbooks and teaching practices as well as the shared responsibility of community members in supporting a conducive environment for students to better apply their knowledge in their homes and social life.

As expressed by education officials from the MOET, gender inequality, violence against girls and women, child marriage and early dropout of girls in mountainous and remote areas are issues that persist in Viet Nam. Mr Nguyen Van Son, Deputy Director of the Continuing Education Department of MOET stated that “the plan for gender equality in education revolves around the empowerment of girls and women for a more equal society. We believe that, by addressing gender inequalities in the Education Sector, strengthening the communication of action for girls and women will contribute to addressing gender inequalities in society.”

Emphasizing the prevalence of gender-related misconceptions, stereotypes and prejudices, UNESCO Gender Programme Manager, Tan Thi Phuong Nhung, stated that “gender biases and stereotypes are not only reinforced by boys and men, but also by girls and women. With this in mind, we may sometimes come across education materials that help promote these gender stereotypes and biases which have long been considered ‘normal’.” Ms Nhung further added that for this reason “it is essential to raise awareness on the equal opportunities and rights of boys and girls in their education, social life, and careers.”

Doan Dong Do, a teacher from Kim Lien Lower Secondary School in Nghe An province and the Director of Viet Quang Town, Bac Quang District’s Community Learning Centre, said "we are equipped with many effective direct communication methods such as organized theatrical plays, club activities and friendly media corners. These methods of communication can be applied in the school curriculum and the community."

A secondary school student, Vo Diem Trang, shared that following the school campaign she has gained a new perspective on gender equality and that now she “is more aware that women are more disadvantaged than men, even in accessing education programmes.”

Given the success of the campaigns, school administrators and officials have committed to carry out the campaigns on an annual basis, as an effective practice on awareness raising and participatory learning between the community and school members.

For more information, please contact Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Nhung, Gender Programme Manager, at tt.nhung(at)unesco.org or visit our Facebook page @UNESCOinVietNam

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