Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 71300
Transforming Gender Norms through Play: Qualitative Findings from Primary Schools in Rwanda, Ghana, and Mozambique

Authors: Geetanjali Gill

Abstract:

International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and development assistance donors have been implementing education projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and the global South that respond to gender-based inequities and that attempt to transform socio-cultural norms for greater gender equality in schools and communities. These efforts are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number four, quality education, and goal number five, gender equality. Some INGOs and donors have also championed the use of play-based pedagogies for improved and more gender equal education outcomes. The study used the qualitative methods of life history interviews and focus groups to gauge social norm change amongst male and female adolescents, families, and teachers in primary schools that have been using gender-responsive play-based pedagogies in Rwanda, Ghana, and Mozambique. School administrators and project managers from the INGO Right to Play International were consulted in the selection of two primary schools per country (in both rural and urban contexts), as well as the selection of ten male and ten female students in grades four to six in each school, using specific parameters of social norm adherence. The parents (or guardians) and grandparents of four male and four female students in each school who were determined to be ‘outliers’ in their adherence to social norms were also interviewed. Additionally, sex-specific focus groups were held with thirty-six teachers. The study found that gender-responsive play-based pedagogies positively impactedsocio-cultural norms that shape gender relations amongst adolescents, their families, and teachers. Female and male students who spoke about their beliefs about gender equality in the roles and educational and career aspirations of men/boys and women/girls made linkages to the play-based pedagogies and approaches used by their teachers. Also, the parents and grandparents of these students were aware of generational differences in gender norms, and many were accepting of changed gender norms. Teachers who were effectively implementing gender-responsive play-based pedagogies in their classrooms spoke about changes to their own gender norms and how they were able to influence the gender norms of parents and community members. Life history interviews were found to be well-suited for the examination of changes to socio-cultural norms and gender relations. However, an appropriate framing of questions and topics specific to each target group was instrumental for the collection of data on socio-cultural norms and gender. The findings of this study can spur further academic inquiry of linkages between gender norms and education outcomes. The findings are also relevant for the work of INGOs and donors in the global South and for the development of gender-responsive education policies and programs.

Keywords: education, gender equality, ghana, international development, life histories, mozambique, rwanda, socio-cultural norms, sub-saharan africa, qualitative research

Procedia PDF Downloads 104