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This paper reflects on the issue of gender parity in higher education. The paper outlines three major hindrances to achieving gender equity in access to higher education. The three factors mentioned in the paper include; the rights and choices for women education, gender parity in leadership and employment in senior positions. The paper looks at the three factors based on the four motivational frameworks; inclusion, attitude, meaning and competence.
The Rights and Choices for Women in Education
The curriculum content as well as the teaching and evaluation methods should not appear to be gender biased. Curriculum designers need to bear in mind the issue of gender inclusivity by examining the language used in the curriculum, as well as the proposed teaching aids and methods Cooke (2011). The implementation part should also embrace gender inclusion. Female students can for example feel excluded reading a text that constantly refers to the “he” pronoun without mentioning “she”.
Attitude plays an important role too in achieving gender equity in higher education. Certain curricular choices for example are dominantly a male’s preserve since the old days by attitude. This attitude has been passed on from old generations to the current generations and continues to affect enrollment of female students in engineering courses Collard and Reynolds (2005).
Curriculum designers and implementers need to break away from this norm by encouraging equal gender enrollment in the various career choices. The curriculum should also be focused on developing the learners’ competency in handling real life situations.
Its content should be practical and applicable in everyday life situation of the learner. It is easier for one to comprehend what they can apply directly in their daily life than theoretical facts. The curriculum should provide learners an opportunity to actively participate in the learning process through questions, assignments, practical sessions and excursions.
Gender Parity in Leadership
There is a widespread gender parity leadership in various institutions, including the education sector. Women are largely disadvantaged in the process of ascending to competitive leadership positions Cooke (2011). This is mainly because of poor democratic institutions and the nature of campaigns that mostly favor male candidates. There is need to strengthen democratic institutions and emphasize more on affirmative action to enable more female candidates ascend to leadership positions.
Curriculum should put more emphasis on practical leadership skills in order to empower and enhance learners’ leadership skills Collard and Reynolds (2005). Curriculum designers and implementers should base the curriculum content on well researched facts that include current and emerging life issues.
In order to enhance competency in leadership, the curriculum needs to be designed in a manner that it will provide several opportunities to the learner to practice leadership. This can be implemented through group work and presentations. Women should be encouraged to fight for leadership positions in the democratic space and embrace positive attitude towards it Tembon and Fort (2009).
Gender Parity in Employment
Gender parity in employment is a question that continues to raise eyebrows both in developed and developing nations. Low female enrollment in schools and failure to successfully complete the education program is the bottom line of the problem Tembon and Fort (2009). There is, as a result few females employed in senior leadership positions both in government and private sector. There is need to develop employment laws that emphasize gender inclusion, or even create quotas to have more women employed in senior positions.
Certain jobs have for long been dominated by men, they include presidency, and parliamentary positions. It is against the norms for a woman to declare her presidential candidature in some countries even in this era of great civilization and enlighten. Such societies should be enlightened and made to understand that women are as competent as men to hold these positions.
Cooke, P. L. (2011). Gender – Class Equality in Political Economies. New York: Routledge.
Collard, J. and Reynolds, C. (2005). Leadership, Gender and Culture in Education: Male & Female Perspectives. New York: Open University Press.
Tembon, M. and Fort, L. (2009). Girls’ Education in the 21st Century. Gender Equality, Empowerment and Economic Growth. MA: Clarence Center Inc.