IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


A school in Madagascar by Milijaona Randrianarivelojisoa


Education, gender equity and empowerment

Our research, teaching, and policy engagement seeks to interrogate the multiple ways in which gender can be understood, and also how it intersects with other forms of inequality.

Theme leader: Dr Rosie Peppin Vaughan

Gender equality in education increasingly features as a key concern in international declarations and national policy commitments. However, the ways in which gender is defined is not always clear; nor is it evident whether such policies are bringing genuinely transformative results.

Our projects examine a number of themes:

  • school related gender-based violence and policies that address this
  • psycho-social dimensions of education
  • teacher education.

We also explore the complexities around translating gender equality policy between the global, national and local contexts. Exploring it in ways that talk to the political and transformative concerns of women's rights activists at all levels from the grassroots to the transnational.

Our work is underpinned by a concern with the politics of knowledge generation, and how hierarchies and structures of power in the field of international development affect research processes and which perspectives are deemed most important. We have a special interest in the development of indicators around gender equality in education, aware both of their strengths and weaknesses.

UCL’s Research Excellence Framework 2021 included our Impact Case Study on Advancing Global Gender Equality through Educational Partnerships: Supporting safer, more gender-equitable schools across eight countries in Africa

Research projects

Policy engagement and knowledge sharing

  • Download (pdf): Appraisal of data available on violence against children in and around schools (VACS)
  • Gender and non-state actors in education - background paper commissioned for the 2021 UNESCO GEM Report: Elaine Unterhalter, Lynsey Robinson, Maria Ron Balsera and Colleen Howell.
  • Intersectionality, gender and education inclusion - background paper commissioned for the 2021 UNESCO GEM Gender Review: Elaine Unterhalter, Lynsey Robinson and Maria Ron Balsera.
  • Download (pdf): Achieving gender equality in and through education - a knowledge exchange consultation paper for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), 2018-2019: Elaine Unterhalter, Colleen Howell and Jenny Parkes.
  • Rigorous review of literature on girls' education and gender equality in education - Department for International Development, 2014 and 2016: Elaine Unterhalter, Amy North and Jenny Parkes.

Teaching programmes

We offer a Masters in Education, Gender and International Development and a module on Gender, Education and Development.

We strive to integrate research into our teaching, from our own projects listed above, as well as from both a wider body of scholarship and engagement with civil society and international organisations.