Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women: position statement

Our position statement on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Article 10: Education

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:

(a) The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, for access to studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establishments of all categories in rural, as well as in urban areas; this equality shall be ensured in pre-school, general, technical, professional and higher technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training;

(b) Access to the same curricula, the same examinations, teaching staff with qualifications of the same standard and school premises and equipment of the same quality;

(c) The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at all levels and in all forms of education by encouraging coeducation and other types of education which will help to achieve this aim and, in particular, by the revision of textbooks and school programmes and the adaptation of teaching methods;

(d) The same opportunities to benefit from scholarships and other study grants;

(e) The same opportunities for access to programmes of continuing education, including adult and functional literacy programmes, particularly those aimed at reducing, at the earliest possible time, any gap in education existing between men and women;

(f) The reduction of female student drop-out rates and the organization of programmes for girls and women who have left school prematurely;

(g) The same opportunities to participate actively in sports and physical education;

(h) Access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and wellbeing of families, including information and advice on family planning.

10.1 Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education

The Scottish Government published updated guidance for teachers on RSHP education in 2014. The guidance encourages equality and mutual respect from an early age and will support teachers to deal with issues such as misogyny in schools. The Scottish Government also provides funding for Rape Crisis Scotland from the justice budget, which includes support to deliver their sexual violence prevention work in schools.

The Scottish Government is committed, through the Mental Health Strategy published in March 2017, to undertaking a national review of personal and social education and the role of guidance in local authority schools, and also a review of services for counselling and their evidence base for children and young people.

A partnership group of health boards and local authorities, led by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, have commissioned an independent consultancy to deliver a new RSHP web-based teaching resource for 3–18 year olds in line with the Curriculum for Excellence and other national policy guidance.

10.2 STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

The Scottish Government has set out how it will tackle gender imbalances and promote equality of access in relation to subject and career choices through Developing the Young Workforce, Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy; the Modern Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan and Scottish Funding Council Gender Action Plan for colleges and universities.

The Scottish Government is also working to improve women and girls' representation in STEM.

Women and girls are underrepresented in STEM subjects and careers, as part of the Developing the Young Workforce to address this underrepresentation:

  • the Institute of Physics is supporting two Project Officers who are working with Education Scotland on a project to improve gender balance in STEM
  • the CareerWISE programme has been developed through Equate Scotland so that female undergraduates have the opportunity to take part in STEM work experience placements

In addition, the Scottish Government published a STEM Strategy in October 2017. The Strategy offers an ambitious and comprehensive plan to drive forward improvements in STEM across the education and training landscape. The Strategy includes new measures to tackle inequality and inequity, including gender stereotypes, in STEM learning and careers.

10.3 Modern Apprenticeships

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) published its Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland on 2 December 2015. It outlines the actions that SDS and its partners will take to improve underrepresented groups' participation in the Modern Apprentice ( MA) programme. The plan includes activity to address gender imbalance within some MA occupation frameworks ( e.g. females in STEM related apprenticeships). Initial activity included the Construction Industry Training Board ( CiTB) Positive Action on Recruitment which raised the awareness of non-traditional careers in construction; Year 1 funding (£180,000 2015/16) to the Institute of Physics ( IoP) to support the Improving Gender Balance ( IGB) Scotland pilot project. This pilot focused on challenging gender stereotypes in STEM subject areas.

On 25 August 2017 the Scottish Government launched a consultation on the future of the national concessionary travel scheme. The consultation sought views on options to safeguard the longer term sustainability of the existing free bus travel scheme and on providing free bus travel to young modern apprentices to support their travel costs. The consultation closed on 17 November with close to 3,000 responses. This is a considerable response and the views expressed are being carefully considered. No decisions have been taken yet about possible changes to the scheme but Ministers have given assurances that anyone who already enjoys a concessionary bus pass will continue to keep it.

10.4 Education and international development

Since 2013 the Scottish Government has provided funding to the Women's Scholarship Programme. This programme has already provided £670,000 funding to benefit 3,400 Pakistani women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme supports children to stay in school by paying for education essentials including books, uniform and transport. It also allows women to study Masters courses in education, health, food security and agriculture, and sustainable energy.

In August 2017 it was announced that a further £650,000 would be given to the successful programme. The funding will be split among 400 women (200 each year) and about 2,000 school children (1,000 each year). Forty per cent of the scholarships will be awarded to children with disabilities and those belonging to minority groups.

10.5 Tackling bullying in schools

The Scottish Government is committed to refreshing the National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People to ensure that it remains current. Respect for All: National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People, aims to provide an overarching framework and context for all anti-bullying work that is undertaken in Scotland. The purpose of Respect for All is to ensure that all sectors and communities are consistently and coherently contributing to a holistic approach to anti-bullying regardless of the type of bullying – it will help everyone involved in the lives of children and young people to identify and address bullying, including racist, homophobic and abusive behaviour, whether it happens online or offline. The Scottish Government will continue to fund respectme, a national anti-bullying service, to build confidence and capacity to address all types of bullying effectively.


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