Reforming Down to Earth: A Gender Equity Education Association that Combines Monitoring and Promoting
This article is part of the 11th issue of LEAP — Voices of Youth e-letter. Subscribe now.
To promote long-term gender equity education while monitoring the government’s gender equity education policies, Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association (TGEEA), established in 2002, became Taiwan’s first non-governmental organization (NGO) in the name of “gender equity education”.
Monitoring and Promoting — A NGO with the Highest Level of Board and Supervisors Participation
TGEEA currently has about 200 members, 70 percent of them are educators from kindergarten to university. Nominated by members, supervisors are in turn responsible for nominating the chairman. The current chairperson, Hong Ju-yin, says that unlike other NGOs, TGEEA board members and supervisors are highly active in the organization.
TGEEA is continually seeking a balance between working and competing with the government
“We are like a gaggle of fools who toil over this after work.” Although busy with their own careers, these board members and supervisors spare no efforts in organizational development, teacher empowerment, and advocacy.
TGEEA is also special for its dual functions of “monitoring” and “promotion”. As the only NGO focusing on gender equity education in Taiwan, TGEEA proactively enters the gender equity education committees in various cities and counties to formulate policies related to gender equity education. Simultaneously, it also collaborates with other organizations that focus on gender issues and march together on the streets to protest inappropriate gender policies. Hong Ju-yin states that TGEEA is continually seeking a balance between working and competing with the government.
In addition to monitoring the government, TGEEA hopes to connect with local organizations. Through holding lectures and training, it promotes gender equity education to schools of every district. In 2019, the association held over 500 lectures, with 60 percent of the audience being students and educators across all levels of education.
In 2019, TGEEA held over 500 lectures, with 60 percent of the audience being students and educators across all levels of education.
“We are often invited to give lectures at various schools. However, sometimes they have no answer for us when we ask them what they want us to talk about.”
Hong Juyin says that the scope of gender equity education is quite large, but the schools and educators are often uninformed. “Many people believe that gender equity education is simply ‘breaking down gender stereotypes’.” In response, TGEEA would list a dozen topics on the lecture invitation form for the hosting organization to choose from. “It also provides an opportunity to tell them what gender equity education represents”.
Employing the professionalism of educators to develop gender equity teaching materials best suited for children
For educators, the act of teaching is the most effective educational tool. However, even though Taiwan has enacted the Gender Equity Education Act, teachers still lack adequate teaching materials and methods. Furthermore, due to disputes on gender equity education in society, schools often maintain a distance from students’ real-life issues by avoiding topics on sex and LGBTQ education. As a result, TGEEA has invested much effort into the development of teaching materials.
In 2012, TGEEA launched an educational board game, “Home Play”, which introduced the concept of “diverse families” to children. Commissioned by the government, board members and supervisors took nearly three years to develop the board game. The success of the game provided enough earnings for TGEEA to afford additional workshop personnel, also facilitate the development of the next educational board game “Magic School” to address the issue of bullying at school.
Afterward, TGEEA launched the rural tour project, “Home play through Taiwan №9 highway: diverse families going together”. Taiwan №9 highway serves as an important roadway in Eastern Taiwan, linking together the various ethnic groups and their diverse families. “We discovered that children often laughed at different family types.” Thus, TGEEA endeavors to cultivate many instructors to introduce this board game in rural villages in an attempt to lesson inferior feelings that came from children’s family backgrounds.
The development of “The Tree of Gender” has been conducted via a “joint preparation” methodology, which inviting interested teachers to participate in the course planning process, and implement the outcomes into their classrooms.
“We also began trying new fundraising methods to communicate with the public.” Last year, TGEEA launched a crowdfunding project to raise funds for the development of “The Tree of Gender”, an emotion education course. The project reached its funding goal in just four days even amidst an air of social disputes on gender equity education, demonstrating that many people were silent supporters of the TGEEA mission.
TGEEA also values collaborations and interaction. The development of “The Tree of Gender” has been conducted via a “joint preparation” methodology, which inviting interested teachers to participate in the course planning process, and implement the outcomes into their classrooms. Hopefully, the participating teachers will become “seeds” who go on to impact even more teachers and students.
“To raise gender equity awareness among everyone will take a long period of cultivation.”
This group of passionate educators walks slowly but surely, moving ahead one step at a time over the past 18 years. Despite social disputes on gender equity education, TGEEA continues to communicate with society and the government to achieve an excellent gender equity educational environment for children in the future.
LEAP — Voices of Youth is a monthly e-letter with a focus on the progress for gender equality and women’s status in Taiwan, including the LGBTQ+ community and gender issues in schools. Click here to subscribe.
Also in This Issue:
With the Gender Equity Education Act implemented, Taiwan still exists disputes on sex and LGBTQ education both in society and inside the schools.
Author: Lin Si-hou
Freelance journalist exploring gender and public issues.
Photographer: Chen Wan-zhen
A journalist and photographer who understands the society and introspects herself by constantly listening to people from varying backgrounds. Chen double majored in Philosophy and Communication Studies.