Dear All,

Today we celebrate the International Women’s Day and we would like to take the opportunity to wish a Happy Women’s Day to all our female readers! 

For this occasion we have opened today an online discussion on EPALE about how adult learning can help to address gender inequality: https://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/discussions/how-can-adult-learning-help-address-gender-inequality . Your contribution is highly welcome!

To give you inspiration for taking part in the discussion, you can find some of the best blogs and case studies celebrating women and their joy of learning: https://ec.europa.eu/epale/node/19290

In addition there are a couple of blogs collected by David Mallows, EBSN’s thematic coordinator on life skills, which you might like to read on the links below to give you more inspiration to the discussion:


1. Reclaiming gendered and classed literacies as a tool for resistance and empowerment

“We need to shift from a narrow, autonomous model of literacy to one that not only views literacies as social practices connected to identity, discourse and ideology but links these systems of power to gender, class, ethnicity and other embodied knowledge as a powerful path to pull on different ways of knowing, understanding, and responding to the social world.”

Vicky Duckworth, Senior Lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University in England

2. Adult education is a feminine sector – could that be why we don’t have enough money?

“And maybe we should finally ask the key question: how come women contribute so much to society and all the benefits go to rich men? So, to take just one very obvious, and current, example in which men give each other lots of money for no good reason at all - let’s reallocate some of FIFA’s money to adult education, and then we’ll see a change.”

Gina Ebner, EAEA Secretary General

3. How can adult learning help to address gender inequality?

“We need to understand how to motivate women and men to engage in adult education, no easy task, especially in a more traditional environment in which gender roles are strictly observed. But there is an abundance of practice to learn from if we look across the borders of the European Union and beyond and consult available databases of good practice such as that held by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg.”

Vida A. Mohorcic Spolar, former director of the Slovenian Institute for Adult Educatio, currently the University of Ljubljana, Department of Adult Education, Slovenia

“Potrebujemo razumevanje in vedenje o tem, kako motivirati moške in ženske, da se vključujejo v izobraževanje odraslih. Naloga ni lahka, še posebej ne v bolj tradicionalnih okoljih, kjer so vloge spolov točno določene. Vendar je na razpolago bogata praksa in izkušnje iz katerih se lahko učimo, če le malo pogledamo preko in izza meja Evropske skupnosti ter pobrskamo po razpoložljivih bazah podatkov dobre prakse kot npr. na Unescovem inštitutu za vseživljenjsko učenje v Hamburgu (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning).”


4. “Gender is not just about women… all stereotypes and gendered expectations need to be questioned, challenged and transformed.” Q&A with Maria Pisani

Maria Pisani, University of Malta

“… in the case of adult learners who choose to continue their education, I would say that many women are more likely to face gendered obstacles, for example childcare responsibilities, or caring for other family members, lower wages and irregular hours, amongst others.”

Maria Pisani is an academic, activist and the mother of four children. She has a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Malta and lectures within the same University in the Department of Youth and Community Studies. As an activist, she is the co-founder and director of Integra Foundation, working with migrants and refugees in Malta.

Contributed by Mahira Sheikh Mifsud, NSS Malta

5. Four things PIAAC tells us about gender

“Education level and parents’ socio-economic status have a more profound association with literacy and numeracy scores in PIAAC than gender. However, gender does appear to interact with these factors.”

David Mallows


We would also like to share with you the second edition of a collection of case studies of promising literacy programmes that seek to empower women published by UIL:

Narrowing the Gender Gap: Empowering Women through Literacy Programmes, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2015

The book responds to the continued interest of stakeholders in Member States in borrowing from examples of literacy practices that enhance gender equality. The examples of effective literacy and numeracy practices featured in this compilation showcase how gender mainstreaming in adult learning has been successfully applied in different contexts and countries across all world regions. The case studies included in this publication share unique experiences and lessons on how to reduce gender disparities in and through adult literacy and basic education. The case studies are drawn from eighteen countries and are also available on the UNESCO Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (LitBase).

Read more and find a link to the free PDF version of this book

The link to the book is also available ont he EPALE site


Kind regards,