Overview – The Opportunities
Crises, with the changes they bring, can create "windows of opportunity" for more gender-equitable educational systems and structures. Post-crisis transition periods offer a time to rethink beliefs and assumptions and "do things differently." New approaches to education could include the possibility of integrating into schools more gender-responsive ideas, methods and perhaps even curriculum content.
One example is the opportunity that Afghan refugee girls have had to go to school in Pakistan. NGOs, such as the IRC, were able to propose community-based schools close to the girls' homes, with female teachers known in the community. This new opportunity made it possible for families to allow their girls to attend school when those remaining in Afghanistan were not able to access such opportunities. Having returned to Afghanistan, these educated girls and their families now act as advocates for schooling for other girls. In some cases the girls themselves have become teachers in community-based schools to ensure that other girls can benefit from what they have learned.
Another example is creating mentoring programs to encourage acceptance of women and men working in non-traditional occupations, whereby female engineers or male nurses go into schools and communities and give speeches or demonstrations.