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Overcoming gender stereotyping in education

Developing Gender Equality Charter Marks in order to overcome gender stereotyping in education across Europe

Our project’s premise was that gender inequalities in the workplace are maintained to some extent by subject choice decisions made in school by pupils aged 13–18. There is still a large gender bias in many subjects despite much work to promote individual subjects, especially with regard to girls.

Research by Biemmi in Italy shows that even when faced with unfettered access to various fields of study and careers, girls still ‘choose not to choose’, diligently funnelling themselves into those fields that have been traditionally assigned to women. Biemmi concludes that social imagery, fed by continuous messages from family and schools, is influencing choice. A hidden curriculum is imbued with implicit messages which often work against the educational goals that are explicitly pursued.

Research by the Institute of Physics in the UK concluded that ‘school culture is a substantial factor in determining subject choice’ and that gender imbalance in any one subject cannot be tackled in isolation to other subject choices. Hence the project’s emphasis on tackling the environment in which pupils are making these choices.

Why a whole-school approach?

Research shows that a whole-school approach helps to ensure momentum and sustain change, and that schools find this approach useful where issues are complex and need to be supported by the entire school community.

Five main elements for the effective delivery of whole-school approaches became the main themes of the project: Leadership, Curriculum, Physical Environment, Attitudes and Relationships, and Community:

  • incorporating activities for the initiative across multiple areas of the school;
  • involving a range of stakeholders;
  • relating work to the wider vision or ethos of the school,
  • having strong leadership support for what is being promoted;
  • and integrating interventions into existing school practices. 

This impactful research has implications for school cultures, teachers' attitudes and practices, parents, young people and local communities.

Gender equality training for trainee teachers

The research findings from this project as well as a follow-up Erasmus plus project with primary schools in 9 European countries have informed the development and delivery of training/workshops for trainee teachers and teacher educators in the UK and Europe. 

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Publications

  • Tsouroufli, M. (2020). School related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in England: An Intersectional Analysis, Special issue ‘Intersectional Aspects of SRGBV in Europe’ Interdisciplinary perspectives to Equality and Diversity’ (IPED Journal), 6(1).
  • Tsouroufli, M. (2020). ‘Intersectional Aspects of School related Gender-based Violence in Europe’ Interdisciplinary perspectives to Equality and Diversity’ (IPED Journal), 6(1).
  • Tsouroufli, M. Redai, D. (Eds.) (2021). Gender Equality and Stereotyping in Secondary Schools: Case Studies from England, Hungary and Italy, London: Palgrave, Gender and Education series
  • Griffin, H., Belgeonne, C. Tsouroufli, M. Rédai, D. Guerrini, V. Sobieraj, A. Nagy, B. Mihalko, V., Lewis, L., Biemmi, I., Ulivieri, S. (2019). Final Report: Developing Gender Equality Charter Marks in order to overcome gender stereotyping in education across Europe

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project


Related Research Group(s)

Interculturality for Diversity and Global Learning

Interculturality for Diversity and Global Learning - Challenging conventional attitudes and practices and promoting respectful and effective intercultural communication, cross-cultural intelligence, diversity and inclusion, within a world that is increasingly interconnected digitally.


Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 20/04/2022