Global Resources

Evidence-based advocacy for gender in education: a learning guide

Author: C. Raghavan (ed)
Publisher: UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office
Publication Date: Jan 2010

In an effort strengthen evidence-based advocacy efforts for gender in education and strengthen links between evidence and advocacy efforts, UNICEF conducted a workshop on evidence-based advocacy for gender equity and equality in education. While the workshop brought together advocates from around the Asia-Pacific region, the resulting learning guide will be of use to advocates globally in efforts to promote gender equality and equity in education. The guide provides a step-by-step roadmap for understanding the theoretical and practical underpinnings of evidence-based advocacy, and is intended to serve as a practical tool for policymakers, professionals, and anyone wanting to get engaged in such advocacy around the world.

The guide is designed to be used in a number of different contexts, including: planning for gender-related advocacy initiatives in education; reviewing gender-programs already in place in educational sectors; identifying gaps and determining concrete next steps; identifying appropriate methods to assess the status of gender equality in education, and ways in which to present assessment findings; and engaging in research, monitoring and evaluation of gender-related educational programmes.

The guide is divided into four thematic sections, beginning with an introduction to evidence-based advocacy. Advocacy is not simply for professionals; to a degree, many people do advocacy every single day simply through expressing their principles to others. Advocacy, the guide suggests, should not be simply "added on" to work you do, but rather be an intrinsic part of your work. Advocacy, the guide says, should:

  • Offer credible positive alternatives.

  • Aim to change specific policies affecting children and young adults, and create political space.

  • Be directed at those who have the power to influence others’ lives; the goal is institutional change.

  • Require clear goals and measurable objectives.

  • Be a long-term process rather than a one-off event, and not aim to be an end in itself.

  • Be based on evidence from your work and experience.

The remaining three sections consist of information about: using evidence appropriately for advocacy, including the use of indicators, data reliability and validity, and building an evidence base through both quantitative and qualitative methods; crafting advocacy messages, including assessing and building your advocacy capacity, framing your evidence effectively, and making the best use of advocacy opportunities; and dissemination and mobilisation, including how to lobby policymakers, mobilise the public, and engage students. Each of the thematic sections are usable independently or in conjunction with other sections, and there is also a list of online and print resources provided on the topic of evidence-based advocacy for gender in education.