Tackling Gender Inequality in Higher Education Institutions in Africa

This policy brief is produced by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) for the Summit on Higher Education on Revitalizing Higher Education for Africa’s future (Dakar, Senegal, March 10-12, 2015). 

The argument presented in this policy brief is that there is need to shift to more holistic gender responsive strategies. Such strategies move beyond simply enabling women’s access to HEIs to issues affecting women’s ability to fully participate, and perform within these institutions. Based on the Forum for African Women Educationalists’ research, the key priorities for addressing the gender inequalities in African HEIs are highlighted. Therefore, in response to the challenges of women’s under-representation in the science, technology and commerce faculties, the unconducive environment of HEIs which perpetuates gender inequality and the lack of women in leadership roles in HEIs, the following key recommendations are proposed:

  1. Put in place gender-sensitive recruitment and promotion process in HEIs.
  2. Establish bodies/committees to implement and monitor the impact of gender policies within institutions.
  3. Urgently initiate research on Higher Education, particularly from a gender perspective, to produce responsive and relevant policy.
  4. Re-invigorate the implementation of scholarship programs and pre-science courses aimed at motivating and upgrading the skills of girls interested in pursuing science programs
  5. Accelerate gender policy dissemination and translate the policy into tangible actions.
  6. Initiate/enhance deliberate policy provision to ensure that the HEI environment takes cognizance of the needs of female students and lecturers in the areas of infrastructure, academic program, social environment etc.