Reducing the Global Gender Gap
Investigate gender equality its relationship to critical global issues. Students will evaluate examples of initiatives led by Peace Corps Volunteers to empower women and promote gender equality in countries around the world. They will also review statistics on gender discrepancies in the United States. Finally, students will participate in a collaborative world forum to identify key global priorities for achieving gender equality.
While the United Nations has declared gender equality a human right, the world still faces a persistent gender gap in access to opportunities and decision-making power. Global trends show that women typically have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation.
Women’s empowerment – increasing a woman’s sense of self-worth, decision-making power, access to opportunities and resources, power and control over her own life inside and outside the home, and ability to effect change – is an essential part of attaining gender equality and for achieving other major global development goals in areas like health, poverty reduction, and education.
Gender issues are not focused on women alone, but on the relationship between men and women in society. The actions and attitudes of both men and women play a role in achieving gender equality.
You will investigate gender equality around the world and identify ways that gender equality and women’s empowerment relate to key global issues. You will also investigate the gender gap in the United States, and identify areas for improvement in gender equity.
After viewing some examples of initiatives led by Peace Corps Volunteers around the world to empower women as leaders, you will research gender equity issues in a country of your choice. You will then represent the country in a world forum on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and work with your classmates to come to consensus on key global priorities.
Print the information collection worksheet and use it to record information as you work through the WebQuest.
Your work will be evaluated according to the chart on the extension tab below.
Materials & Procedures
Gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world: Key issues
Read the introduction to gender equality and women’s empowerment from the United Nations Population Fund.
- What do you feel are the two most important areas to address? Why do you think so?
- View the Year of Gender Equality Laws Adoption animation, illustrating the years in which different countries passed laws giving men and women equal rights. List three observations or things that surprised you.
How does gender equality and women’s empowerment influence global issues?
View the following resources:
Based on what you saw, how does providing opportunities for women and girls’ education and economic participation help to address the following goals:
- Poverty reduction
- Improving global health, including HIV/AIDS reduction, disease prevention, child mortality
- Improving agricultural production and nutrition
- Equality in civic participation and political representation
How are Peace Corps Volunteers addressing gender issues?
View the following stories showing how Peace Corps Volunteers are working with communities on gender equality and women’s empowerment issues.
- Healthy Girls, Healthy Villages by Vivian Nguyen, Niger (2003-2005)
- New Opportunities for Women by Liz Lowe, Costa Rica (2010-2012)
- Oyster Women's Sustainable Harvests by Adrian Croke, The Gambia (2008-2012)
What were the specific challenges the communities in Niger, Costa Rica, and The Gambia were seeking to address related to gender?
How do these challenges manifest themselves in the United States? How are our gender equality challenges different?
Gender equality in the U.S.
Review the following statistics about gender discrepancies in the U.S. and respond to the accompanying questions.
- Poverty in the United States: A Snapshot. Why do you think a discrepancy exists between the percentage of men and women living in poverty in the U.S.?
- The Wage Gap Over Time. What national trends do you notice in pay differences for men and women?
- The Gender Gap in College Enrollment and Graduation. What changes do you notice over time and what do you think may have caused these changes?
- Proportion of Women in Statewide Executive Office. What do you notice about the percentage of women serving as elected officials? How do you predict this will change in the next 20 years?
- Statistics about Girls, Nontraditional Careers, and STEM. What surprises you most about the gender discrepancies in science and technology-related careers?
Gender Gap – Research by Country
Visit the World Economic Forum’s page on the global gender gap. View the most recent full Gender Gap Report. Within the report, find the country profiles section (p. 52 - 319) and choose one country to analyze. Begin by finding the country you selected on a map or globe. Then, write a brief description of that country’s gender gap in the following areas:
- Economic participation and opportunity
- Educational attainment
- Health and Survival
- Political empowerment
What do you recommend as the top two priorities for reducing the gender gap in this country?
World Forum on Gender Equality
As a large group, gather with your classmates who researched different countries and be prepared to present the recommendations for the country you researched.
After sharing your recommendations and learning about the gender gap situation in other countries, work as a group to come to consensus on five top global priorities for addressing the gender gap.
Reflect on your experience by writing about or discussing:
- Why is it important to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment?
- How has history influenced gender issues in the United States and other parts of the world?
- What do you think are the major challenges to closing the gender gap?
- How can you help to promote gender equality?
|Students identify and reflect on global trends in gender equality||Priority issues or observations of trends not articulated||Few priority issues or observations of trends are articulated||Variety of priority issues and observations of trends are articulated||Variety of prioity issues and observations of trends are very clearly articulated|
|Students describe how gender issues influence other global issues||No relationship described||Few relationships described.||Relationship between gender and a variety of other global issues is described.||Relationship between gender and a variety of other global issues is clearly described.|
|Students describe gender-related issues in other countries, comparing and contrasting these to issues in the U.S.||No issues described||Few issues described; few examples of similarities and differences to the U.S. are given||Variety of issues described; variety of examples of similarities and differences are given||Variety of issues described; variety of thoughtful examples of similarities and differences are given|
|Based on data, students reflect on gender descrepancies in the U.S.||No evident use of data or reflection||Some use of data informing reflection||Reflection on multiple issues is evident; data is used to foster reflection||Very thoughtful reflection based on data is evident|
|Students research the gender gap in a given country, describe issues and identify priorities||Issues not clearly described; priorities not clearly identified||Few issues described and few priorities identified||Variety of issues described and priorities identified||Variety of issues described clearly and priorities identified based on data|