Global and development-related research
Open Seminar

Mapping girls' education in conflict and emergencies

Kenneth Bush, Emily Echessa, Nicolas Herbecq, Jenny Parkes, Annika Rabo, Jennifer Roe, Silje Sjøvaag Skeie and Arne Strand.

Schoolgirls in Gaza
Schoolgirls in Gaza.
Muhammad Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Main content

The slogan “education cannot wait” entails the positive and life-saving role of education during crisis. However, education can take on many faces in emergencies and conflict situations depending on whether it is used as a tool by the authorities, by the political movements opposed to them, or as a humanitarian strategy. In these kinds of situations, education can both strengthen and weaken prior inequalities gender-wise.

Central to the intensified focus on education in conflict and emergency situations is the realisation that the educational setting provides much needed routine and sense of safety when crisis hits and the structures that constituted normality are destroyed. Going to school in these situations nourishes hope for the future. The situation of flux which crisis entails can also constitute an opportunity for positive change in gender relations. Nevertheless, power dynamics within families/communities can continue to put girls at a disadvantage despite the shattering effect of crisis on prevailing structures of inequality.

The number of children out-of-school has decreased over the past 20 years. However, those who live in situations of conflict and humanitarian crisis still constitute half of these children, of which girls are considered to be in majority. The literature that exists on education in emergencies and conflict is to a large extent produced/commissioned by the humanitarian actors in this field. While independent research on education in emergencies and conflict/post-conflict situations do exist, the role of gender is often missing. It is this gap in knowledge on gendered dynamics in the case of girls’ education in conflict and emergencies that this open seminar will address.

Coming from both the humanitarian and academic field, the presenters in this open seminar will map and discuss what is done on girls’ education in conflict and emergencies from their respective work experiences in this field in different parts of the world.

The presenters are Kenneth Bush, Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit, University of York; Emily Echessa, Save the Children, UK; Nicolas Herbecq, Education Manager various NGOs; Jenny Parkes, Institute of Education, University College of London; Annika Rabo, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Stockholm; Jennifer Roe, Refugee Education Trust, Silje Sjøvaag Skeie, Norwegian Refugee Council/INEE Gender Task Force and Arne Strand, CMI.

Organisers: CMI and UiB

Photo: Muhammad Abed/AFP/Getty Images