|Redressing Gender Inequalities in Education - A Review of Constraints and Priorities in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe (DFID, 1995, 89 p.)|
|CHAPTER 5: POLICY OPTIONS: AN OVERVIEW|
Strategies to redress gender inequalities are usually constructed on the basis of "supply" and "demand factors". Supply side strategies to expand access are necessary to increase girls' enrolment but they are rarely sufficient. International experience has shown that simply expanding education programmes does not automatically result in greater female enrolment. In some South Asian countries and Yemen, school expansion policies have only been effective when accompanied by other policies that lower the direct or opportunity cost of education or raise the benefits (King and Hill. 1993).
Numerous gender specific education policies have been tried by governments, donors and NGOs in a variety of combinations in each of the three countries under scrutiny. Because most of them have only been introduced over the last five years or so, any systematic and comprehensive impact evaluation is not possible. Nonetheless, some data are already available about short term outputs and impacts. The World Bank has undertaken or directly supported much of the research that has informed and shaped policy initiatives of all kinds in support of female education (mostly in South Asia and some in Africa). Early Bank funded projects tended to focus on single interventions. However, most were not successful because they could not address the multiple constraints affecting girls. In contrast, projects that implemented 'package' approaches have had better results (Herz et al, 1991). There is, however, some disagreement among World Bank programme officers regarding the desirability and feasibility of the 'package approach'. Some believe that compound strategies are more effective than single approaches while others consider that the multiple approaches may overburden government bureaucracies in some countries and resulting in poor implementation. Despite these reservations, the weight to research evidence and theoretical considerations would suggest that policy 'packages' are likely to be the most effective (Stromquist, 1994).
Two main types of gender strategies have been tried: (i) providing more educational facilities for girls and; (ii) reducing the direct and indirect costs of schooling. The following policies have been developed by governments and aid donors.