Gender Equality and Empowerment

Workshop Partner

Indian Academy for Self Employed Women (IASEW)


Working Group discussing Goal 5 “Educating for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”

Discussions about gender in the context of development have been on the global agenda for the past several decades More often then not women and girls are perceived to have a lower status, fewer opportunities, less access to resources and less power to influence decision-making processes then men and boys. Aside from our ethical responsibility to end discrimination, the widespread recognition of the devastating practical impact that a large yet marginalized majority of the population has on development underlies the articulation of SDG5. Having a standalone goal is important and serves as a powerful stimulus for drawing attention to gender-based issues. We, however, must recognize that women have a critical role to play in all the SDGs. This calls for the need to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment in all goals to enable the agenda to be truly transformative.

The Role of Education
While it is crucial to address, and change existing disadvantages towards women and girls in formal structures, like legal and policy reforms to provide support and legitimacy to address inequalities, these steps do not, in themselves, change the way we continue to think and act. When we look at SDG5 the major sites of discrimination may appear separated such as barriers to economic resources, gender-based violence, or restrictions to women’s bodily autonomy, however all of these are related to one another. This calls for uncovering the multiple layers of subtle, nuanced, complicated and often contentious ideologies from which we acquire certain social and cultural norms. They reveal how unwritten rules and expectations tend to restrict women in making strategic life choices. Factors like the family, community, religion, economic and educational institutes, legal and political structures as well as the media influence the space in which women (and men) can negotiate change.

However, because gender roles are acquired through learning, they are also open to change through learning. In order to inform and support this process, real transformation involves a revision and change in perception that will build new conceptual constructs based on research and experience. A plan for educational intervention is thus urgently needed to enable transformative change towards the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which are all interlinked in our eco-system based view of the world.

Our workshop on Gender Equality dealt with all 17 goals and discussed issues that limit the full participation of more than half of all humanity.

This workshop brought together development practitioners, policy makers, educators, innovators, government agencies, academics and other professionals from all parts of the world to share their experiences, workable models, strategies about advancing gender equality and empowerment by critically examining local and regional realities in a globalized context. The workshop focussed on addressing how education in formal, non-formal and informal settings can strengthen the SDG5 agenda, programs, and activities. It placed a special emphasis on discussing appropriate ways to engage with individual socio-cultural and development contexts to instigate change and develop innovative and effective implementation strategies.

Workshop Activities and Outcomes

  • Shared innovative case examples, experiences and research in education and awareness as drivers of change
  • Developed priorities and recommendations that include new approaches and implementation techniques into a workshop report
  • Created an active and committed network of practitioners working on education for achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls

Workshop Report

A report from the workshop on Sustainable Development Goal 5: Education for Gender Equality and Empowerment of all Women and Girls at the International Conference on Education as a Driver for Sustainable Development Goals which took place from January 11-13, 2016 at CEE Ahmedabad, India.

CEE Focal Point: Dr. Prithi Nambiar, Archana Panicker, Shweta Kaushik, Zoe Geyman


Workshop Sessions


11/1/2016 (Monday)

    12/1/2016 (Tuesday)

13/1/2016 (Wednesday)






Inaugural Plenary
Setting the Tone




Plenary 2
Measurement, Indicators, Tracking Progress

Session V:  Gender Equality and Environmentally Sustainable Development
Chair: Prof. Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Professor in Education, Rhodes University, South Africa

  • Ms. Adriana Valenzuela Jimenez, UNFCCC
  • Mr. Binoy Acharya, Director, UNNATI Organization for Development Education
  • Ms. Jahnvi Andharia, Executive Director ANANDI
  • Ms. Karuna Singh, Country Director Earth Day India
  • Chhavi Goyal, National Coordinator,
    Global projects, WAGGGS


Tea Break




Plenary 1
SDGs and Role of Education

Session III: Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls
Roundtable discussion moderated by Dr. Prithi Nambiar

  • Mr. Varun Jhaveri, Youth Representative at UNESCO GAMAG
  • Dr.  Seema Khanawalkar, Semiotician and Visiting Faculty, CEPT University and NID 
  • Mr. Ram Devineni, Filmmaker, Director, Producer & Co-Writer PRIYA SHAKTI (over skype)
  • Prof. Niyati Mistry, Principal, Government Arts College, Gandhinagar
  • Ms. Anju Musafir, Founder, MGIS
  • Ms. Nupur Sinha, Director, Centre for Social Justice
  • Ms. Riddhima Sharma, Communications Officer Safe City, Founder FemPositive
  • Ms. Poonam Kathuria, Founder and Executive Secretary, SWATI
  • Ms. Sonal Zaveri, Secretary, Community of Evaluators

Session VI: Reflections and recommendations


Moderated by Dr. Janine Huisman, Postdoc at Radbound University Nijmegen, Netherlands

Dr. Prithi Nambiar, CEE


Lunch Break


Introduction to the Workshop: Dr. Prithi Nambiar, Executive Director, CEE Australia and Program Director, Sustainability Education, CEE India

Session I: Education for Gender Equality

Chair: Dr. Pam Rajput, Chairperson High Level Committee (HLC) on Status of Women, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.


  • Ms. Mirai Chatterjee, Director, Social Security, SEWA
  • Ms. Lalitha K, Chairperson, National Commission on Women
  • Reiner Mather, Senior Expert ESD Expert net

Session IV: Strengthening Women’s Voice and Visibility
Chair: Mr. Kiran Karnik, Director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India

Ms. Namrata Bali, Director, SEWA Academy
With Women Leader



Discussant: Ms. Meagan Fallone, CEO Barefoot College International



Closing Plenary
The Way Forward


Tea Break



High Tea


Session II: Women’s Economic Participation
Chair: Dr. Indira Hirway, Director and Professor of Economics at the Centre for Development Alternatives

  • Ms. Sushma Iyengar, Managing Trustee, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan
  • Ms. Patricia Barandun, Deputy Representative UN WOMEN, India
  • Dr. Preet Rustagi, Professor and Joint Director, Institute for Human Development


Plenary 3
GAP and SDGs
Strengthening Commitments



Workshop Team: Dr. Prithi Nambiar, Ms. Archana Panicker, Ms. Shweta Kaushik, Ms. Sneha Acharya, Dr. Krishna Gajjar, Ms. Zoe Geyman