Gender Equality in Education: Examining the Dialogue Between International and National Policies in Ghana Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Dalyot, Keren
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Gender equality in education is not a novel concept. What is newly important, however, is the way states define and approach it. This is reflected most clearly in the education services states provide to their citizens and residents. This is especially crucial in developing countries where public services are generally weaker and less developed. In the 21st century, gender quality in education is a principle acknowledged by the international community both as a basic right and as a goal which governments need to actively commit to. Even though this is a well-acknowledged principle, progress on the ground is uneven and often slow. My dissertation is focused on several guiding questions that are all centered on a qualitative investigation of policy processes and implementation. The questions that have guided my research are: How are international policies on gender equality in education being translated and interpreted by national policymakers in developing countries? How do local leaders define and make sense of international policies in their daily work? What are the challenges they identify in their daily work? What can we learn from the way they work with development partners and international actors? These questions are then answered in a particular setting of a developing West African country – Ghana. Ghana provides a great context for studying the interplay between international policy, national policy and the relevant actors and stakeholders, especially because according to various indicators the situation in Ghana is very promising in terms of parity. My research opens a small window to the reality of policymaking and project development in Ghana, using qualitative methods that are focused on exposing policy disconnects and deeper meanings of equality and education. The qualitative methods used in my dissertation include documents analysis and interviews with local Ghanaian elites. The findings of my research include developing an understanding that the common perspective on gender equality in education in Ghana tends to ignore the complex set of obstacles girls in Ghana face. The policy texts written by international organizations or DPs often ignore the implications of being educated for women and girls by overlooking the wider social context of life in Ghana (or other developing countries) (Sutton, 2001). One of the major themes that emerges from my analysis resonates with Sutton’s (2001) findings from over a decade ago, albeit in a different continent: “Any large-scale change in patterns of educational attainment by girls becomes a matter of altering gender relations – and thus the dynamics of power between genders” (p. 79). The centrality of this to policymaking cannot be overstated, because if gender equality in education is the aim (as opposed to just getting more girls into school), then policy needs to address the larger patriarchal relationships in society.
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  • In Copyright
  • Simeonsson, Rune
  • Mount Cors, MaryFaith
  • Palsha, Sharon
  • Marshall, Catherine
  • Rong, Xue Lan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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