Gender Equality in Early Childhood Education -project
The project Gender Equality in Early Childhood Education has been running since 2010 with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture and Finnish National Agency for Education. The project is managed by The Feminist Association Unioni.
During the years we have studied the ways equality and inequality appear in the practices of early childhood education. We have created and assembled tools for observing gender equality in early childhood education and exercises for developing more equal practices.
Currently the project is focusing on distributing information about gender equality and gender sensitive practices to the field of early childhood education. We organise trainings, lectures and web courses for people working in and studying early childhood education.
You can reach the project manager from projektipaallikko(a)naisunioni.fi
WorkshopGuide: Early childhood and gender – Ideas for a workshop for students and professionals of early childhood education. Workshop Guide was made in 2014 by Metropolia Social Services students Aurelia Westendorff & Linnea Pohjolainen.
Background of the project
The main objective of the project is to increase awareness of the idea and practices of gender sensitivity and gender equality in the Finnish-speaking early childhood education field through research, training, and statements regarding educational policies.
The educational working group functioning under the Feminist Association Unioni was founded in the autumn of 2006 to promote gender equality in educational institutions. The group was involved in organizing a seminar Equal opportunities in kindergartens as a goal together with Folkhälsan, Hanasaari, and The Council for Gender Equality in 2008. A well-known equal rights educator Kajsa Wahlström from Sweden was invited as the keynote speaker. The seminar generated enthusiasm and willingness among the participants to take up gender sensitivity as a goal to be promoted also in Finnish-speaking kindergartens.
The volunteer group was in charge of finding the funding for the pilot project which was gained in 2010 from the Ministry of Education and Culture. After that there has been an employee working for the project. During the years the project has been running under slightly different names and different focuses (research/training) under state funding.
The pilot project Developing gender-equal education in kindergartens’ (2010–2011) objective was to gather information about the ways in which children are met and treated equally – or possibly in-equally – in Finnish-speaking kindergartens. Afterwards this website was created as a part of the project Gender sensitivity in early childhood education – equal encounter in kindergartens (2012-2014). The website contains a vast self-study material about gender sensitive early childhood education based on the pilot project’s research. After that different projects have been focusing on training the staff of early childhood education with the funding from Finnish National Agency for Education. During the years we’ve reached approximately 3000 people working in and/or studying early childhood education nation wide.
The project has been supported by a steering committee that consists of volunteers from the educational working group and representatives from the following partners:
The project has also been closely cooperating with following students through their theses:
Alasaari, Nea (2013): Children’s play – gender-conscious perspective to the everyday day-care
Korhonen, Johanna (2014): Gender sensitive drama education in nursery school.
Hannonen, Saana & Kauppila, Elisa (2016): Gender-sensitive Educational Method and Free Play
Åker-Harju, Sara (2016): Equal Early Education in Children’s Day Care Tonttula
Cannizzaro, Romina (2019): Exploring Perceptions on Gender in Early Years Among Kindergarten Teachers