Women and education in the EU

03-03-2015

Gender equality in education is guaranteed by law in EU Member States, so the issues are far more complex than simply that of gaining access to education for girls, as remains the problem in many developing countries. Yet despite the legal equality in the EU, inequalities persist because of the educational choices that girls make, which may prevent them from achieving the potential they show earlier in education. Moreover, care needs to be taken not to ignore the problem of low-performing boys, a phenomenon sometimes overshadowed by the successes of men generally. The rationale for gender differences in education has mainly been approached from two perspectives: that of biological differences and that of societal and cultural influences. In the past, the view that biological differences are the cause of different educational outcomes was prevalent, but more recently there has been a shift towards the other side of the spectrum. The latest research shows that the differences between males and females are not sufficiently significant to account for the differences in educational outcome.

Gender equality in education is guaranteed by law in EU Member States, so the issues are far more complex than simply that of gaining access to education for girls, as remains the problem in many developing countries. Yet despite the legal equality in the EU, inequalities persist because of the educational choices that girls make, which may prevent them from achieving the potential they show earlier in education. Moreover, care needs to be taken not to ignore the problem of low-performing boys, a phenomenon sometimes overshadowed by the successes of men generally. The rationale for gender differences in education has mainly been approached from two perspectives: that of biological differences and that of societal and cultural influences. In the past, the view that biological differences are the cause of different educational outcomes was prevalent, but more recently there has been a shift towards the other side of the spectrum. The latest research shows that the differences between males and females are not sufficiently significant to account for the differences in educational outcome.