As part of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, UNESCO and UN Women have released a new Global Guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence.
This tool was developed in close collaboration with the Global Working Group to End School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV), and can support all actors, including educators and their unions, to move forward in their efforts to end SRGBV. Violence in and around schools and other educational institutions is a global phenomenon, affecting millions of children and young people, cutting across cultures, economies, peoples and practices. The existence of SRGBV compromises children’s well-being, their physical and emotional health, as well as their cognitive and emotional development. As a result, it constitutes a major barrier to children’s ability to learn and develop, and is correlated with lower academic achievement.
The new publication stresses that ending school-related gender-based violence is a priority for countries wishing to achieve the ambitious sustainable development goals on inclusive and quality education for all and gender equality.
The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, from 25 November-10 December, has been critical over the last twenty-five years in galvanising action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
Education International (EI) member organisationsin different regions also often participate in the 16 Days campaign. In Argentina, they convened a trade union meeting on a different types of gender-based violence, in which the unions agreed on a number of important actions, including:
· the importance of using resources, support networks and social organizations to address domestic violence
· the need to include issues relating to gender-based violence in the workplace in unions’ collective bargaining initiatives
· the need for unions to counter resistance to addressing violence within education unions, to ensure that a gender perspective is integrated into union policies, campaigns, events and activities, and the need to provide members with sensitization campaigns and capacity building, and the development of specific tools for dealing with cases of gender-based violence within trade unions.
Education Unions Take Action to End SRGBV
Also, the ‘Education Unions Take Action to Stop School-Related Gender-Based Violence’ is an initiative jointly developed by EI and the UN Girls’ Education Initiative and supported by the Government of Canada (2016-2019).
The initiative is designed to enhance the capacity of the unions and their members to engage in ending SRGBV within their respective contexts at local, provincial/district or national level, as appropriate. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to enhance the safety and security of male and female children, youth and teachers in educational settings.
The seven unions participating in Phase 1 of the initiative are: Basic Education Teachers’ Union of Zambia, Ethiopian Teachers’ Association, Kenya National Union of Teachers, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, Uganda National teachers’ Union and Zambia National Union of Teachers.
Lessons learned from Phase 1 will inform the design and implementation of Phase 2, from October 2017-April 2019, when the work will be replicated with five more unions in three West African countries, according to Education International report.