Committee Reports::Report No. 02 - Gender Equality in Education in the Republic of Ireland (1984-1991)::01 March, 1992::Appendix


Department of Education Policy Statement on Gender Equity

It is the policy of the Department of Education to promote gender equity in education and to eliminate sexism and sex-stereotyping.

Equality issues in the areas of Administration, Employment, Curriculum, In-Service and Pre-Service training, Inspection and Managment are monitored regularly and improvements will continue to be made on an on-going basis.

ADMINISTRATION. Departmental staff are aware of the necessity to eliminate sexism in education. This includes departmental documentation, correspondence, and regulations pertaining to all aspects of education, e.g. school design and planning, school organisation, segregation of examination scripts. New schools are established on a co-educational basis and rationalisation is a key feature of the Department’s policy on the provision of school accommodation.

CURRICULUM PRIMARY. No differentiation in subject provision for boys and girls. Equal access to all areas of the cirriculum for boys and girls. The Review body on the Primary Curriculum and the National Council for Curriculum and assessment have been required to ensure that sexism and sex-stereotyping be eliminated from the school curricula and that such curricula prepare pupils for their future role in society.

POST-PRIMARY. In the design of syllabuses, cognisance is taken of the need to ensure that the content is equally suitable for and of interest to all pupils. Equity of treatment in relation to curriculum and assessment should be offered to all pupils, within the framework of budget provision and the educational system.

The school system should encourage the take-up of subjects which will enable pupils to meet the requirements of a wide range of opportunities in the world of work and in Third-level education. As complete and representative a range of subjects as possible should be available equally to boys and girls.

TEACHING MATERIALS. Publishers are requested to apply the guidelines on sexism/sex-stereotyping issued by the Department of Education, to all new text books and existing textbooks as they are revised. Teaching materials should be free from sex-bias and relevant to the interests of both sexes.

In the primary sector, a Representative Comittee has been established to examine the level of sex-stereotyping in textbooks and teaching materials in Primary Schools, as well as to make recommendations on the elimination of such content on a phased basis. The committee intends to monitor progress in this area.

MANAGEMENT. School management should co-operate in changing attitudes and raising the level of awareness among staff, pupils and parents in relation to equality in education between boys and girls.

The role of school managment in curricular provision and subject choice should be as flexible as possible within the educational arrangements that can be offerred.


*Primary. It is the policy of the department that a module on sex-stereotyping and sexism should be included in all Department In-Service Summer courses for teachersin primary schools.

*Post-primary. Issues relating to gender equity, particularly in the area of subject choice, continue to be covered generally on In-Service courses for Post-Primary teachers. Specific seminars and courses are also organised in this area.


*Primary. The Primary Inspectors treat gender equity issues as an important part of their work in schools. Where necessary they will help to increase awareness of those issues among teachers and others.

*Post-Primary. The Post-Primary Inspectorate are involved in the promotion of equality in the educational system through:

1Encouraging school management to provide balanced curricula to foster non-traditional subject take-up by as many pupils as possible.

2Designing all examination papers so that sex-stereotyping is avoided in the formulation of examination questions.

Pilot Intervention Projects in Physics and Chemistry.

Grants for Mature Women students

Action Research on Co-education

Actions undertaken by the department.

Action Research on girls and Technology.

Action Research on Pre-Service and In-Service training of teachers.

A working group representative of sections within the Department of Education, monitors progress and co-ordinates activities relating to equal opportunities in education.

The EC Council and the Ministers for Education have adopted a Resolution on gender equity and as a result of proposals submitted by Ireland have recommended an Action Programme which includes the following:

1.Promotion of awareness among all participants in the educational process, of the urgent need to achieve equal opportunities for girls and boys.

2.Educational and vocational guidance to encourage girls and boys to diversify their career choices.

3.Opening up schools to working life and the outside world.

4.Extending the possibilities for effective access by girls and boys to all vocational training options, and supporting, through suitable measures, girls and boys who have chosen non-traditional career paths.

5.Including issues of equal opportunity in teachers’ initial and in-service training.

6.Eradicating all persistent stereotypes from school textbooks, teaching material in general, assessment materials and guidance material.