Girls? and women?s education within Unesco and the World Bank, 1945?2000 Rosie Peppin Vaughan*Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK Taylor and Francis CCOM_A_490360.sgm 10.1080/03057925.2010.490360 Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education 0305-7925 (print)/1469-3623 (online) Original Article 2010 Taylor & Francis 40 4 000000July 2010 RosieVaughan firstname.lastname@example.orgBy 2000, girls? and women?s education was a priority for international development organisations. While studies have examined the impact of recent campaigns and programmes, there has been less exploration of ideas about girls? and women?s education within development thought in the immediate post- colonial period, and the political mechanisms through which this came to be a global concern. Through a study of policy documents, this paper investigates how the education of girls and women came to be prioritised within the two principle UN agencies involved with education since 1945, the World Bank and Unesco. A shift in priorities is evident, from ensuring formal rights and improving the status of women, to expanding the productive capacities of women, fertility control and poverty reduction. While the ascendance of human capital theory provided a space for a new perception of the role of women?s education in development, in other policy arenas women?s education was central to exploring more substantive, rights-based notions of gender equality. Ultimately, the goal of improving girls? and women?s education fitted into diverse development agendas, paving the way for it to become a global development priority. Keywords: gender; education; Unesco; World BankIntroduction By the last decade of the twentieth century, the education of girls and women had become a development priority for the majority of international agencies, both multi- lateral and bilateral. Girls? and women?s education was identified as ?the most urgent priority? in the World Declaration on Education for All in 1990 (Unesco 1997, 149); by the same year, 44% of World Bank education projects proposed activities to improve female education (Winslow 1995, 165). Moreover, the second half of the twentieth century featured a global rise in global levels of female enrolment (Unesco 2003; see, for example, King and Hill 1993). Rather than evaluating the success of gender education policies and strategies, however, this article seeks to reveal the underlying ideas about girls? and women?s education within two key international organisations, Unesco and the World Bank, and explores why such approaches have changed over time. The expanding international education agenda has been accompanied by academic studies examining shifts within it. Overviews by Jones (1988, 2005, 2006), Chabbott (2003) and Mundy (2006, 2007; Mundy and Murphy 2001) have explored thinking on education and development during this period, highlighting the vast scenario of shifts*Email: email@example.com R. Peppin Vaughanin governance and funding strategies, and the differing political, economic and social theories underpinning them. However, these have paid little attention to how the education of girls and women has been addressed within the global agenda. In contrast, analyses of education policy conceptualisations surrounding gender equality have been conducted at national level (see, for example, Kenway 1997; Arnot, David, and Weiner 1999; Marshall 1997). Many such feminist authors have drawn on critical policy analysis techniques which see policy as socially constructed text that can, if effectively scrutinised, reveal the underlying conceptions of society and the interest groups which it represents; such analyses can draw attention to and challenge the taken for granted or dominant assumptions informing policy; expose the effects of policy on the ground, especially whether they increase inequality and impact dispro- portionately on disadvantaged groups; and provide insight into injustice and inequity, helping to challenge assumptions about the desirability and rationality of the official logic of outcomes and indicators (Ozga 2000, 46?47). Until recently, however, there has been little such investigation of understandings of gender and education within international policy. Unterhalter (2005, 2007) provided the first critical analysis of theoretical under- standings at international level of gender and education and global social justice since the 1970s, distinguishing between instrumental and intrinsic conceptualisations of gender equality and education. According to her typology, those couched in the ?Women in Development? (WID) framework link education to efficiency and growth, centre on getting more girls into school and are concerned with the instrumental effects of girls? education for society and national development. Alternately, intrinsic understandings prioritise the inherent rights of girls and women to education. Formal intrinsic approaches draw on liberal approaches to equality and prioritise the right to access education. Substantive, intrinsic equality agendas are evident in the ?gender and development? (GAD) model, which positions power structures as responsible for ongoing gender inequality in education and wider society, and is concerned with the removal of such structural barriers; and are also evident in the capability approach, in which evaluations of gender equality are based on the freedoms that people have to achieve what is valuable to them. This article explores the extent to which these framings have been specifically manifest within education strategies of Unesco and the World Bank, demonstrating how their approaches to the education of girls and women have been linked to and influenced by wider shifts in their development priorities in the post-war period, and arguing that the consensus seen in the 1990 Education for All (EFA) goals belied differing approaches and priorities. I also argue that their conceptual framing of the education of girls and women to some degree reflects differences in their mandates and modes of operation. The analysis involved examination of key Unesco and World Bank documents and policy texts relating to the education of girls and women, includ- ing General Conference resolutions, Unesco publications and World Bank policy papers, over the period 1945?2000. Secondary literature was used to relate the changing conceptualisations of gender and education to broader shifts within these organisations and development thinking in general.1945?1960: pursuing women?s rights to education in a new global arena The foundation of the United Nations provided an unprecedented opportunity for the formal recognition of women?s rights on a global scale. The UN Charter (1945) andCompare 407the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) were the first international instru- ments to specifically refer to equal rights for men and women.1 As the agency charged with overseeing both the cultural and educational operations of the United Nations, Unesco straight away became a focal point for efforts to improve the educa- tion of girls and women. The principle of educational equality was built into Unesco?s constitution and promoted to member states through international confer- ences, reports and surveys. The issue was a specific focus of the 1952 International Conference on Public Education, which resulted in a special recommendation being issued to national Ministries of Education on the ?Access of Women to Education?.2 It was recommended that all new educational laws and regulations be based on ?the principle of women?s equality of access to education?, and that compulsory education of the same duration should be provided to both sexes, with the same facilities for pursuing and continuing studies available to girls and women (Unesco 1953). This principle was also promoted through a series of international meetings on the provi- sion of free and compulsory education, with regional conferences on South Asia (1952), the Arab states (1954) and Latin America (1956). Moreover, for the first time, the systematic collection of gender-disaggregated educational statistics from member-states allowed cross-country comparisons, and for progress to be tracked over time; for example, Access of Women to Education: A Preliminary Statistical Report (Unesco 1952a) covered over 130 countries and territories; and presented a statistical description of levels of female enrolment in primary, secondary and higher education. Unesco?s most visible priority for girls? and women?s equality was equality of educa- tional opportunity as an intrinsic right. This formal understanding of gender equality emphasised legal and constitutional provisions, as opposed to substantive approaches, which focus on the ability of individuals to access resources, services and rights beyond legal provisions (Subrahmanian 2005; Unterhalter 2007, 56?73). Yet at the time, the promotion of equal educational rights was in many ways a radical step, and the liberal feminist agenda it embodied was in its own terms a powerful platform for securing equal citizenship and reclaiming the state from the disproportionate representation of men and male interests (Connell 1994, 140?2). Moreover, the broad mandate of securing access was acceptable to a range of campaigners, many of whom had more radical agen- das; for many women?s rights advocates working within Unesco, securing women?s access to education was a first step along a longer path of challenges. The framing of educational equality as ?equality of opportunity to access education? followed the liberal discourse of rights within the UN as a whole. Jain (2005, 31) notes that the UN?s concerns in its first decade were chiefly framed in terms of formal and legal rights and a liberal understanding of equality, in which legal reform and the provision of access to resources (such as education and healthcare) was regarded as the required and satis- factory level of equality. Yet within these activities, agreement on a clear definition of equality between men and women remained elusive (Jain 2005, 22?3). Beyond a notion of equal formal rights, and improving women?s status, however, Unesco?s vision of modern societies in its mainstream operations balanced equality of educational opportunities with appropriate differentiation. Unesco?s flagship concept and programme on ?Fundamental Education?, which drew on modernisation theory that dominated economic and development thought at the time, focused on how personal attributes ? values, attitudes and dispositions ? enabled individuals to lead their soci- eties out of backwardness to progress and modernity (Jones 2005, 29?32; Jain 2005, 51). The programme contained an understanding that the roles of men and women in408 R. Peppin Vaughansociety should be based around certain natural differences between the sexes; with the more efficient facilitation of what was seen as the ?natural roles? of women encouraged as a way of hastening social and economic development. Fundamental Education for girls and women was largely centred on socially important responsibilities, such as bearing healthy children, maintaining their health, running the home, feeding families and educating their young; women?s lack of education therefore endangered the devel- opment of modern families. Without education, a woman in India for example:The ignorant, illiterate, superstition-ridden woman, who lives by her fears and her doubts, whose world is peopled with gods and goddesses who wish to work her harm, can pass on to her children only what she herself believes and possesses. (Unesco 1947, 89)The recommendations of the 1952 International Conference on Public Education also envisaged differential social outcomes to education as the natural and most desirable result. It was ?useful to provide ? courses which prepare girls for their family respon- sibilities? (Unesco 1953, 262). In higher education, it was advised that ?university studies permit women to specialise in fields particularly suited to feminine aptitudes?, with special attention to be paid to the training of women as social workers (Unesco 1953, 263). Fundamental Education, in particular, should ?give women a practical, effective and moral education which will prepare them better to fulfil their natural role in the family and in society? (Unesco 1953, 262). The goal of equality of access should be followed as long as ?account [is] taken of differences in psycho-physiological development between the sexes? (Unesco 1953, 259). The vision of modernisation in Unesco?s mainstream operations therefore entailed an essentialised understanding of difference between the sexes, with the understanding that ?women? was a biological rather than a socially constructed category. Education should facilitate these different roles, through different subjects to be studied at school. Also central to this vision for the future was a conceptuali- sation of a modern state with the participation of all citizens; Unesco encouraged an active role for women in social and civic life through education for citizenship and also convened a series of activities and publications along this theme (Unesco 1951, 1952b; see also Unesco 1954, 1955, 1959).3 But within this vision of the modern state, particularly in the Fundamental Education programme, the idea of different roles for the sexes persisted. While education?s role in development was to enable individuals and communities to determine their own path in the process of change that many former colonies entering the global economy faced, this did not include a concern with the social structures underpinning and determining such changes, and the distribution of higher living standards between different groups, or how education could affect such distribution, including the different roles of men and women. However, in other areas of work, Unesco pioneered more radical approaches to women?s education. Through commissioning research and organising meetings which brought together policymakers, experts and non-governmental campaigners, Unesco encouraged Discuss (check midcourse.net for the help you need)ion about education?s role in women?s status and roles in society and the social construction of gender difference; here, more substantive understand- ings of educational equality were explored, focusing on the intrinsic benefits for women of educational reform. At a meeting in Paris in 1949 on ?Obstacles to the Equality of Educational Opportunity for Women?, participants were concerned that beyond legal provisions for equal access, education should bring about greaterCompare 409 equality and similarity in the roles of men and women4 (Unesco 1949a, 1949b). Indeed, the persistence of unequal access was attributed to a ?tyranny of tradition?: the legacy of earlier eras in which women were required to perform roles solely within the household. Any ?innate differences in endowment, intellectual or moral, between the sexes? was dismissed, with participants instead exploring the idea that education could work to eliminate such essentialised understandings of difference (Unesco 1949a, 3). The committee thus urged that:a sincere effort should be made by men and women alike to re-examine and correct these assumptions in the light of modern conditions, and that such re-examination and correc- tion should form part of the educational experience of adolescent boys and girls, and of adult education of both sexes. (Unesco 1949a, 3)Modern society required the reform of social institutions such as the household and family; policy recommendations included similar vocational guidance for boys and girls; education in housekeeping and child-rearing for both sexes; and the reor- ganisation of households, household equipment, and childcare to be divided equally between men and women (Unesco 1949b, 5). After the early 1950s, however, internal decisions steered Unesco?s activities towards more general equality concerns; women?s education gained very few mentions in the resolutions of the General Conference after the early 1950s, with the Executive Board noting surveys but giving no directives. Unesco also encouraged the exploration of the relationship between culture and women?s status through commissioning social science studies, and actively promoting the exchange of information and research, Discuss (check midcourse.net for the help you need)ion and consultation. Assumptions about the naturalness of sex differences were questioned and explored as socially and culturally constructed markers of social hierarchical divisions. Publications included an edited collection on Women in the New Asia: The Changing Roles of Men and Women in South and South-East Asia (Ward 1963); and articles in the Unesco Courier such as ?Women have always been men?s equals in Burma? (Unesco 1952c) and ?A woman?s life in an African Village? (Unesco 1957). Unesco also conducted studies and surveys of the political rights of women in a large number of countries in Asia and Africa, publishing, for example, The Status of Women in South Asia (Appadorai 1954); and commissioning the highly reputed French political scientist Maurice Duverger to write The Political Role of Women (1955).5 Jain (2005, 62) notes that Unesco?s concern with women?s emancipation, and in particular the importance of them gaining positions in public and political spaces, ?foreshadowed realizations of the worldwide women?s movement several decades later?. However, an arguably oppositional and more traditional conceptualisation of gender was expounded in Unesco?s mainstream educational operations during this period, which positioned gender equality in a narrow and instrumental way. Activities relating to either position, however, were ultimately driven by Unesco?s desire to spearhead the global acceptance of particular norms, and lead the world in philosoph- ical debates about economic and social rights. Notably, problems specific to developing countries were rarely addressed explicitly, which Jain suggests may have been due to a belief that educational equality would naturally evolve with the process of nation-building and economic development that many former colonies and devel- oping economies were believed to be embarking upon (2005, 35). It was when the UN launched its ?First Development Decade? in the 1960s that its activities became more focused on issues of ?development?.410 R. Peppin Vaughan1960?1975: planning for development In the 1960s, Unesco?s efforts to promote equality of access to education for girls and women were augmented and re-invigorated through campaigns, regulatory mecha- nisms, and survey reports. Now the access of women and girls became more system- atically monitored; each year, Unesco conducted a survey on one aspect of girls? and women?s access to education (Table 1); compiled from questionnaires sent to member states and other territories, the reports consisted of both quantitative data on levels of participation, and qualitative accounts of legal provisions, actual levels of provision, gender enrolment levels, difficulties relating to obstacles, drop-out and absenteeism, and conducive economic, social and cultural conditions. In most instances, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) used each report to put a Recommendation or Resolution to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); these acted as non-binding statements of guidance for the education policies of member states of the UN.6 Unesco also convened a series of regional meetings on girls? and women?s education, to Discuss (check midcourse.net for the help you need) common national prob- lems and measures for resolving them, and prepare regional and national programmes. The recommendations of these meetings were brought before regional meetings of Ministers of Education to Discuss (check midcourse.net for the help you need) short- and long-term planning (Table 2). Table 1. Key Unesco surveys on girls and women?s education and related instruments, 1960? 1975.1961 Access of Women to Out-of-school EducationECOSOC Recommendation 771 (XXX) G1 on Access of Women to Out-of-school Education (July 1961)1961 Access of Women to the Teaching ProfessionECOSOC Recommendation 821 (XXXII) VA on Access of Women to the Teaching Profession (July 1961)1962 Comparative Study on the Access of Girls to Elementary EducationECOSOC Recommendation 884 (XXXIV) on Equal Access of Girls to Elementary Education (July 1962)1964 Access of Girls and Women to Education in Rural Areas: A Comparative StudyECOSOC Recommendation 961 (XXXVI) D on Access of Girls and Women to Education in Rural Areas (July 1963)1966 Access of Girls and Women to Secondary EducationECOSOC Resolution 1068 (XXXIX) on Access of Girls and Women to the Various Forms of Secondary Education and to Higher Education (July 1965)1967 Comparative Study on the Access of Girls and Women to Higher EducationECOSOC Resolution 1208 (XLII) on Access of Women to Higher Education, Jobs and Professions (May 1967)1968 Comparative Study on the Access of Girls and Women to Technical and Vocational EducationECOSOC Resolution 1327 (XLIV) on Access of Women to (Technical and Vocational) Education (May 1968)1970 Equality of Access of Women to Literacy: A Comparative StudyECOSOC Resolution 1512 (XLVIII) on Elimination of Illiteracy Among Women (May 1970) 1970 Comparative Study of Co-education CSW Resolution 6 (XXIII) on Co-education (April 1970) 1973 Study on the Equality of Access of Girls and Women to Education in the Context of Rural DevelopmentCompare 411These activities reflected a shift to more formal educational planning. Parity of access between boys and girls also featured in large-scale regional conferences, and the regional plans which emerged from these meetings (for example, the 1959 Karachi Plan, the 1961 Addis Ababa Plan and the 1962 Santiago Plan) detailed manpower needs, costs per pupil, population growth estimates, enrolment projections and targets, required external assistance, expansion of teacher training, numbers of administrators (Unesco 1960, 1961a).7 Unesco?s Convention against Discrimination in Education was adopted by the General Conference in 1960, with member states encouraged to ratify and incorporate the provisions into their education systems. At the 1966 General Conference, a long-term unified programme promoting equal access of girls and women to education, science and culture was adopted with special budgetary provisions (Chaton 1968; Unesco 1985a, 1). A far more explicit concern for the economic impact of improving women?s social and reproductive roles through education by now was emerging. Unesco?s regional education plans emphasised the importance of school-level education, particularly primary education, for economic growth. The Addis Ababa Plan (Unesco 1961b), for instance, displayed a more overtly instrumental rationale, focusing on the economic outcomes of women?s education:The need is urgent for the increased use of educated ?women power? in the working life of the community in such callings as nursing, social work and teaching. Increasing atten- tion in school curricula and in adult education must be given to child care and domestic science. (Unesco 1961b, 6)Women?s schooling was to aid economic growth through the improvement of women?s nurturing roles and economic activities relating to their existing domestic social roles. This contrast to the previous, more general notion of the importance of women?s education in the perceived transition to modern societies was particularly evident in Unesco?s concept of functional literacy. This explicitly instrumental approach went on to be employed in a number of projects in member states in the ?Experimental World Literacy Programme? between 1966 and 1974 (Jones 1988, 159?211; 2005, 62). Functional literacy was specifically aimed at developing literacy as part of voca- tional education, imparting work-related skills, and within this assumptions were made about gender differences (Unesco 1970c, 9). Experimental projects on women?s education were launched on technical education and literacy in Upper Volta, primary education in Nepal, and technical education in Chile (Unesco 1970a, 8?9; 1975; Chaton 1973, 79).8 Productive roles for women were not envisaged as much as repro- ductive, family-centred ones (Unesco 1968, 4; Jones 1988, 186). An explicit distinc- tion was made between, on the one hand, education projects for industrial workers andTable 2. Unesco meetings on girls? and women?s education, 1960?1965.1960 Meeting of experts on Education for Girls in Tropical Africa 1962 Meeting of experts on Access of Girls and Women to Education in Rural Areas of Asia, Bangkok 1962 Conference on African Women and Adult Education, Dakar 1963 Conference on Educational Planning in Developing Countries with special reference to Women?s Education, Sweden 1964 Meeting of experts on the Access of Girls to School Education in the Arab States412 R. Peppin Vaughanagricultural workers, and on the other, education projects for women (Unesco 1970c, 19?22). In a project in Tobago, for instance, direct economic participation was encour- aged in activities regarded as typically feminine, centring around the home or social activity: handicrafts, local and cottage industries, and tourism (Unesco 1973). The concern with education?s contribution to economic growth in the 1960s was linked to a focus on the specific issues facing developing countries, as a growing number of newly independent, former colonies became members of Unesco.9 Unesco readily took up ideas emanating within contemporary economic thought, in particular the relationship between education and economic growth, outlined in two new theo- ries in development economics which gained ascendancy during the period within policy circles: human capital theory and modernisation theory (Jones 2006, 53).10 It was these considerations which drew the World Bank into educational operations during this period. The World Bank?s original mandate for lending to national governments had not included support to education at all, as this had been regarded as an investment likely to bring private returns rather than national benefits. In the early years of the 1960s, however, Unesco?s Director-General forcefully conveyed to the leaders of the World Bank that educational expansion was crucial to growth, and that the expansion and consolidation of educational systems in newly independent states was a sure way towards modernisation (Jones 2006, 53?4, 101?4).11 Subsequently, drawing heavily on human capital conceptualisations of education as schooling to improve skills, secondary and technical education came to be promoted in World Bank projects over the course of the 1960s, and later in the decade primary education was added to its portfolio (Jones 2006, 137). The World Bank?s first Education Sector Working Paper (1971) was entirely silent on female education. Significantly, the second working paper (World Bank 1974) noted the gender disparities in primary and secondary enrolment in the poorest countries and contained an annex demonstrating the global distribution of such dispar- ities. However, the chapter on ?education and equity? contained nothing on female education beyond a concern that the lack of adequate nutrition for child-bearing mothers and their children might impair the mental capabilities of their children, and a need to instruct parents on diet (World Bank 1974, 37). The overwhelming concern remained the instrumental role of education in facilitating women?s contribution to national economic growth through their reproductive roles. The focus on formal equality and the instrumental aspects of girls? and women?s education within the World Bank and Unesco?s mainstream activities can be linked to the wider concerns with economic growth in the international development commu- nity; in which the women?s efficient functioning as mothers was central to economic growth in the growing number of former colonies joining the UN as member states. However, the role of status, power and gender in determining educational access and outcomes was generally not addressed; ultimately leaving more complex aspects of educational participation unexplored. Yet while women?s education as a policy issue within the mainstream programmes of Unesco and the World Bank was now deeply affected by such economic rationales, in other operations Unesco continued to explore the definition of equality for women, questioning the meaning of the word ?status?, and the importance of education in securing women?s access to power. Unesco?s Long-Range Programme for the Advancement of Women, launched in 1966, led to further research activities which addressed the relationship between the status of women, and social and economic arrangements, including the contribution of education (Unesco 1985c, 4). SpecialCompare 413issues of Unesco journals offered comparative studies of women?s status, and the roles of men and women, such as the International Social Science Journal (1962), the Unesco Courier (1964), the Impact of Science on Society (1970 and 1971), and the International Review of Education (1973). Pushing beyond the access agenda, case studies were produced on educational process and outcomes: on co-education in Chile, Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany (Unesco 1971a, 1971b, 1971c); and on the relationship between educational opportunities and employment opportu- nities, in Argentina, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast and Sri Lanka (Unesco 1974a, 1974b, 1974c, 1974d). Through such publications the contribution of education to women?s status and position in society could be explored more fully. For example, The Education and Advancement of Women (Unesco 1970b), authored by Jacqueline Chabaud, strove to provide a definition of equality beyond educational access, exploring further the links between education and equality in other spheres of life, advocating equal opportuni- ties in career choice, and equal sharing of domestic duties between the sexes. Rather than merely facilitating participation in national development, education was also required to play a part in enabling a new set of gender relations to emerge, ?tantamount to undertaking a complete reshaping of society? (Unesco 1970b, 23?4, 154).12 Such activities can be linked to more general moves within the UN to build insti- tutional arrangements for providing greater opportunities for women, and the build-up of interest and activities which laid the foundations of the resurgence of the interna- tional women?s movement in the 1970s. In 1967 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (DEDAW), and in 1970 the UN initiated a Programme of Concerted International Action for the Advancement of Women (Jain 2005, 45?50; Chaton 1968). In its research and Discuss (check midcourse.net for the help you need)ion activities, Unesco foregrounded the intrinsic importance of women?s development, promoting the exploration of the relationship between women?s educa- tion, status and power, and pressing for a more substantive understanding of equality that looked beyond the acquisition of legal rights that by now had been attained in many developing countries. In this way, many of the concerns that were later articulated by critics of the WID model ? which came to be termed the GAD approach ? were fostered by Unesco in this period.1975?2000: divergence and consensus in the construction of an international agenda The mid-1970s saw a new global wave of feminist activity heralded by the Interna- tional Women?s Year (1975). Calls for progress in girls? and women?s education were underpinned by a number of international commitments, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1979; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990; both of which offered legally enforceable commitments concerning the right of women and girls to educa- tion. The second and third World Conferences on Women, held in Copenhagen (1980) and Nairobi (1985), also sustained the international policy focus on women. Unesco?s mainstream activities now revealed more substantive equality consider- ations. From 1975, the Director-General was required to submit a report to each General Conference on how Unesco?s recent activities had contributed to improving the status of women (Unesco 1976); and Unesco?s programme on equality of educa- tional opportunity for women was reinvigorated, undertaking a substantial range of4
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