The Study on Practical Needs and Strategies for the Gender Awareness Program in School
Type Basic Period 2019
Manager Yunjeong Choi Date 2020-03-03
Fiie 4. The Study on Practical Needs and Strategies for the Gender Awareness Program in School.pdf ( 2.19 MB )



The study on practical needs and strategies for the gender awareness program in school


Yunjeong Choi

Sung-Jung Park

Hee-Young Jang

Hyokyung Kim

Yoonjung Choi


Those who are in their formative years have shown that they have a significant difference by gender, in perceiving gender equality. The gap has only worsened, so people believe that it could be a source of major social conflicts. Nevertheless, our school environment is not fully responsive to changes in students' awareness and culture. Gender awareness programs in the school system has depended on principal’s discrete decision, making itself one-off event, at best, and mostly failing to see such event properly happen. What makes worse is that there is no concrete understanding of how to deliver such education in school.


Against this background, this study is to examine the state of and gap among school students’ gender equality perception by gender, investigate the current gender awareness programs practice, and suggest ways of facilitating gender awareness programs for better gender equality, while putting their basis on research findings.


To that end, this study reviewed previous research and performed surveys on a total of 4,217 elementary, middle and high school students nationwide in order to identify whether they have been offered gender awareness programs and in an anti-gender equality school culture. In addition, it interviewed those engaged in the implementation and management of gender awareness programs at 17 city and provincial education offices to have a practical view on their missions. Also, this research investigated 34 primary, middle and high school students to grasp gender equality perception among pupils in puberty as well as their experience of gender awareness programs in school and the request of improvement on it. Furthermore, it had meetings with 14 teachers, gender equality instructors, experts from related organizations, and others, to hear about how the awareness programs practically has been implemented, what difficulties they faced, and what improvement solutions there could be. On top of that, this investigation found out that for a greater influence of the gender education, it should be reflected into education curriculum, and accordingly conducted analyses on five subjects under the 2015 revised curricula and all curricula on three cross-curricula themes for the whole elementary, middle and high schools.



The findings of the study are as follows: First, the study uncovered that students still experienced gender discrimination and sexual harassment in their schools. They felt such wrongful treatments in the relationship with peers and teachers, but also in school institutions and systems. Those young adults commonly displayed a relatively higher gender equality perception among themselves but varied by gender to feminist issues, drawing gender line.


Among those surveyed, the portion of students who personally went through, or witnessed gender discriminatory remarks or behaviors over the preceding year was 14.1%. Perpetrators and victims answered that they did to, or were done by someone of a same grade in rates of 81.5% and 59.0%, respectively. This indicates that a majority of gender segregation were done by peer students. 78.7% of middle and high school students answered that they witnessed discrimination in school guidelines, including about dress code and code of conduct. Students were asked through seven questions about their perception on teachers’ behaviors and comments, and the question that recorded the lowest mark was, “Do teachers do their best to make a gender equal culture in school?” This clearly demonstrated that they did not make many efforts to establish a gender equal culture.


Students have experienced sexual discrimination or hatred culture more on the Internet than in their schools. 59.8% of them said that they saw gender hatred postings and other gender comments on websites or smartphone applications. 38.8% of the respondents said that they witnessed such cases on YouTube; 33.2%, on Facebook; 15.0%, on Twitter; 14.1, on Internet video games; 13.9%, on mobile games. 77.9% of all students said, “I oppose to hatred against male, or female.” By gender, girls were 81.7%, while boys 73.3%, which exhibited that male students were more inclined to go against the hate stance. Boy students were high in not opposing to hatred against females. The portion of girls, 15.9%, who said ‘Yes’ to “Oppose to female hatred only” was lower than that of boys, 21.3%, who said ‘Yes’ to “Oppose to male hatred only.”


An examination that measured students’ gender equality perception by modifying and correcting Korean Gender Egalitarianism Scale-A, which had already been developed, uncovered an average of 44.3 out of the perfect score of 48; girls were higher, 45.9, than boys, 42.6. Regarding self-evaluation on one’s gender equality perception, boys were 8.17, while girls 8.01 averaging 8.09. Unlike the gender perception findings, boys were higher than girls in this subjectivity test. Regarding the perception of their parents, fathers and mothers recorded 7.47 and 7.86, respectively. This result displays that they are higher than parents in terms of that perception, which is commonly found in other background variables.


Students were investigated on their ideas about recent buzz words, including about gender equality, on the scale of 4. A critical outcome of it that caught attention was that boys and girls were very different in the responses to a couple of questions. To “Feminism is an act of female supremacy or male hatred,” the first was 2.98, while the second was 2.08; to “Women call for equal treatment but hand over difficult jobs to men,” the former was 2.78, while the latter was 1.98. This clearly showed that not a few boy students believed that feminists were women supremacy activists or another name of hatred against men, or that women were excessively sticking onto their rights only. Second, on the educational field, gender awareness programs was understood as not a mandatory course but just ‘what schools generally do.’ A total of 72.6% of students said they received gender awareness programs during the past year. The rate of the gender education delivered in the class of Creative Experience Activity/Extracurricular Activities/Optional Activities was 45.8%, almost the same with that in subjects, 45.1%. Subject-wide, Health was 54.7%; Civics/Ethics, 43.1%; Social Studies, 28.9%; Korean Language, 21.3%; Technical Education and Home Economics, 18.6%. Regarding instructors who delivered the gender awareness programs, school teachers consisted of 64.2%; outside instructors, 56.6%. These figures proved that not a small part of the education depended on the outside. In addition, the education was offered in such a way that the whole of school students participated in at a time, and this meant that it had been implemented in a way that is ‘just done.’


Investigations of education offices also showed that there were a very fragile footing of the policy foundation and status of gender awareness programs and a limited amount of support. Moreover, the implementation framework was linked with gender education or sexual violence prevention. The gender awareness programs system varied depending on education offices, and among 16 out of the total of 17 offices was only one designated official for the mission. In addition, among those involved with the education, 76.4% of them dealt with sexual violence prevention at the same time; 70.5% of them addressed gender education as well. Regarding budget, the number of offices that did not make any budgetary allocation was 7, or 41.2%, in 2017; 8, or 47.1%, in 2018; 5, or 29.4%, in 2019. Scale-wide, amounts of budget were widely different from zero to KRW 200,000,000 plus. Overall, the scale was small.


Students shared their ideas about how to improve gender awareness programs. 74.1% of them wanted, “Contents should be something that students can empathize with or find interesting.” 18.7% said, “Practical issues that students experience in person.” 10.0% responded with, “Discussion, role-play, acting into a real case, among others, would be better than lecture or video-clip class.” These ideas certainly showed that they wanted to see some changes in contents and methods of the education. In the meantime, those working at education offices demanded for teachers to have higher levels of gender equality perception (20.8%); for those involved to develop programs that can be employed in fields (18.8%); for superintendents and principals to raise their consciousness and interests (16.7%).


Third, as education curriculum failed to fully secure the value of gender equality, subjects failed to carry conclusive and diversified topics in terms of the awareness programs.


Comprehensive analysis on gender awareness programs by subject showed that details of it are mostly on sexual consciousness, including sexual health, sexual ethics, and family related topics. In the meantime, keyword “women” is limited to social studies, largely thinking of the word as a thing of the past. Subjects other than social ones mostly deal with sexual health which centers on sexual development, pregnancy, delivery, contraception, and related diseases. The fact that they put relatively higher emphasis on sexual health indicates that they do not comprehensively reflect goals of gender awareness programs and its detailed contents. Sequence-wide, higher school grades saw broader and more intensified education details. Yet different subjects carried overlapped topics among themselves, not distancing one subject from another or clarifying the purpose of gender awareness programs. Also, they did not exhibit an organic association or contextual structure among themselves.


Analysis on extra curriculum, including safety and health education, career education, and human rights education, all of which are closely relevant to gender awareness programs, revealed that there were gaps by area, lack of consistency, and shortage of expertise and gender equality perception among teachers. In the area of safety and health education, teaching materials that explicitly talked about gender equality were still limited in availability. They mostly emphasized sexual education. Regarding career education, primary and middle schools commonly delivered one-hour class, respectively, out of the scheduled 51 classes. In terms of human rights education, gender equality has been chosen as one subset of its major five areas and drawn a relatively strong attention. Yet, the education was designed in a way that parents, or grandparents appear on a central stage, rather than adolescent students. This clearly justified the need of improvement on the current practice, which is necessary for it to draw empathy and engagement from them.


Based on those comprehensive outcomes, this study lays out the following suggestions with regard to the facilitation of gender awareness programs and the improvement of curriculum in the future.


First, educations under the name of gender equality are suggested to be totally revisited and the nation’s fragmented gender related educations should be restructured. For those to happen, laws which deem necessary should be drafted, or applicable laws already in place should be streamlined. One single implementation framework is strongly recommended. By doing so, gender awareness programs will take root as an independent area, before successfully securing policy supports that range from educational methods to functions to roles.


Second, to activate gender awareness programs in school, curriculum might need to be revised, or a new gender equality curriculum could be made. For starters, goals and achievement standards of gender awareness programs in school have to be proposed. For the gender education has so far failed to come up with goals, achievement standards, and content elements, different contents by grade have not been arranged, and, as not a few students and teachers pointed out, repetitive and boring classes were delivered to students. It is necessary for a systemic curriculum that factors in consistency among different grades to be drafted, if the education is to be a student-oriented one.


Furthermore, an operational method is needed so that such curriculum can be associated with subjects under the effective 2015 revised curriculum. For its part, the study partly suggests achievement standards and content elements of the gender awareness programs that can be associated with subjects of the existing curriculum, including of Korean Language, Social Studies, Civics, Mathematics, Practical Course, Fine Art, Physical Education, and Health. On top of that, it is important to develop and distribute diverse teaching materials by level of grade and feature of curriculum and extra-curriculum. The study identified that the part that those working at education offices and different fields find most necessary is the development of abundant materials. Other efforts, including selection of book recommendation for students in puberty, or production of web cartoons, than practical materials in schools are also in need.


Third, measures that can enhance the level of awareness and expertise of teachers and instructors are in need. For a better teachers’ gender awareness programs, standard curriculum for teachers should be prepared, and supports to the community of practice should be realized. These are efforts with which teachers can perform research by themselves. To increase the perception level among “would-be” teachers, related training programs to the gender education should be made as compulsory, including of designating them as teaching subjects or required courses. Given the fact that more than half of the education are offered by outside instructors, the study proposes the establishment of expert nurturing programs and diploma courses that take account of the features of young kids, adolescents, and schools.


Lastly, programs that can be implemented by the central government should be in continuous harmony with gender awareness programs by schools and education offices. Guidelines for parents should be drafted and distributed for an improved parents’ equality perception, together with teachers. The awareness programs should be prevailed through the partnership with community projects. It is needed that the implementation of diversified educations for parents and support projects actively facilitate projects of gender awareness programs.