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Exploring the agenda for change

Introduction to final week - exploring the agenda for change.
This image has three words written in chalk on a board in a vertical list. The words are: attitude changes things. To the left hand of each word is the first letter, creating a vertical list ACT
© University of Exeter

Welcome to week four, the last week of the course. I hope you have enjoyed it so far and feel you have learned something about gender inequality.

In the first week we introduced some of the core concepts and understandings of gender and gender inequality to get you started. In the second and third weeks we shifted to look at the status of gender equality in the workplace, home, and society at large, including the media and politics. Most of the material we looked at explored the causes and consequences of inequality in these settings. We have also drawn out some of the underlying themes that cut across all of the contexts that lead to and sustain gender inequality. We will look at these in more detail.

The aim this week is to consider what is being done to tackle gender inequality, and what more could be done. There will be opportunities for you to contribute your own thoughts and analyses of the effectiveness of current activities and ideas as to what more could be done.

As we know, separating the domains of home, work and society is artificial and influences in any one sphere will impact the others. But for ease we’ll tackle each in turn to ensure we give each area sufficient attention. There will be a video led by your hosts, Lauren and Jemma, which will briefly set out some of the current initiatives being adopted to tackle gender inequality before you have a chance to discuss these ideas, and introduce your own. You are encouraged to reflect on the problems raised in previous weeks to inform your thinking, and also draw on the wider reporting of gender inequality and your own knowledge and experiences.

Overall, by the end of the week we hope to have shifted the debate from ‘what is happening’ towards ‘how can this be tackled or things be done better’. To achieve change it is important to go beyond discussing the extent of gender equality and the causes of the gender inequality. The purpose of reviewing the causes and nature of gender inequality is to enable us to create a more gender equal world by tackling the root causes and their effects.

This also needs to be understood in its context. In some contexts priorities for gender equality might be focused on the physical and emotional safety of women, or attending to their fundamental human rights to choose when they marry, work and so on. In other contexts, where many of these fundamental rights are relatively secure, the focus is more likely to be on progression, positions of power and levels of pay. Gender equality concerns are also impacted by age, for example – access to education, which is predominantly for young girls in contrast to access to childcare support or opportunities for progression, which predominantly affects adults.

We’ll also conclude with a test to review how your attitudes towards gender equality have changed as a consequence of this course.

Specifically during this week we will:

  • Review our learning from weeks 1-3

  • Consider how we can challenge gender inequality: in the home, at work, and in society by:

    • Reviewing current activities and initiatives designed to tackle this, and
    • Considering and discussing what else can be done.

Please engage in the discussions. They afford the opportunity for shared learning and understanding, I hope that you enjoy the final week of the course and look forward to reading your arguments and suggestions for achieving gender equality

© University of Exeter
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Understanding Gender Inequality

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