Reducing the Global Gender Gap

Students investigate gender equality and its relationship to critical global issues.

They will be introduced to key issues in gender equality and women's empowerment, and will examine the global situation regarding equal rights for men and women. They will also review statistics on gender discrepancies in the United States and posit explanations for the persistent gender gap in key areas. Students will evaluate examples of initiatives led by Peace Corps Volunteers to empower women and promote gender equality in countries around the world. Finally, students will research the gender gap in a country of their choice and participate in a collaborative world forum to identify key global priorities for achieving gender equality.


  • Students will identify and reflect on global trends in gender equality.
  • Students will describe how gender issues influence other global issues, such as poverty, education, and health.
  • Students will analyze approaches to promoting gender equality and empowering women.
  • Students will posit explanations for gender discrepancies in the U.S.
  • Students will research gender issues in a selected country and identify priorities for reducing the global gender gap.


  • Student access to computers with Internet and audio


  1. Define gender equality as equal power and opportunities for men and women. In small groups, have students generate answers to the questions:
    • In what areas do we need to improve gender equality in the United States?
    • What are some of the major gender equality issues facing the world?
  1. Explain to students that they will be engaging in a WebQuest, in which they will investigate gender equality and women's empowerment both in the United States and in the world. They will learn about the approaches Peace Corps Volunteers are using to empower women in countries around the world and will research gender equality issues in a country of their choice.
  2. In the computer lab, direct students to the Reducing the Global Gender Gap WebQuest. On the Student Page, read the Introduction and Task sections together, demonstrating how to navigate through the WebQuest and collect information requested on the data collection sheet.
  3. Allow time for students to work on the WebQuest independently, in pairs, or in small groups. Provide assistance to students as needed during their work time. On the section How does gender equality and women's empowerment influence global issues? prompt students' thinking (if needed) with questions like:
    • (Reducing poverty)- How could education influence a woman's income? How could having children later in life or having fewer children influence a woman's financial situation?
    • (Improving global health)- How could education influence a woman's decision-making about health issues? How could empowering women as decision-makers influence the spread of HIV/AIDS?
    • (Improving agricultural production and nutrition): If women had better access to more land, how might agricultural production change? If women had better access to medical care and information during and after pregnancy, how could that influence nutrition?
    • (Improving civic participation and representation): How could increasing the number of women in school influence equality in civic participation? How could passing laws giving women equal rights influence the percentage of women in elected office?
  1. When students arrive at the section Gender Gap - Research by Country, assist students in selecting a diverse representation of countries and in finding the corresponding country profiles for the countries they select in the Gender Gap Report.
  2. Once students have completed their individual country research, facilitate a world forum in which students share the gender equality recommendations for individual countries. Work to come toward consensus on several global priorities for achieving greater equity in power and opportunities for men and women.
  3. Use the questions in the Conclusion section of the WebQuest to guide a class discussion, or ask for students' verbal or written reflections.

Frameworks and standards

Enduring understandings

  • Gender equality and women's empowerment influence numerous global issues.
  • Globally, there is a persistent gender gap in the areas of economic participation, education, health, and political empowerment.
  • Gender equality issues vary across cultural contexts.

Essential questions

  • What are the major challenges to addressing the gender gap?
  • How can you help promote gender equality?
  • Why is it important to promote gender equality and women's empowerment?


National Science Education Standards

  • Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Personal and community health

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

  • Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections
    • Use maps, charts, and databases to explore patterns and predict trends regarding global connections at the community, state, or national level
    • Explore the causes, consequences, and possible solutions related to persistent, current, and emerging global issues

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

  • Literacy in History/Social Studies
    • Key Ideas and Details: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
    • Research to Build and Present Knowledge: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research

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