Gender Tool Kit
A practical guide for increasing gender equity for girls and boys in 4-H
|What is a Gender Tool Kit?||Why are we concerned about gender?||Tools for Club Leader and Advisor Awareness||Tools for Working with Parents||Tools and Practices for Clubs||Lessons and Activities for Teaching about Gender||Tanzania 4-H Gender Assessment|
This Gender Tool Kit is a collection of resources, activities, lessons, suggestions, and practices for 4-H programs. 4-H organizers, leaders, volunteers, members, or parents, who can use these tools to become more aware of gender equity issues in their 4-H program and address gender goals and concerns in a thoughtful way.
This tool kit is based on 2011 studies and pilot programs with Tanzania 4-H members, parents, and advisors. 4-H programs in other African countries have also used some of the tools.
Note: Each country has its own 4-H club structure from the national to the club level. The tools in this kit are written for use in many countries. Therefore, some of the terms – such as club advisor, volunteer, leader, headquarters, etc. may not fit every country. Do not let that confuse or stop you! The point is to use the tools with appropriate stakeholders so all can help promote gender equity in 4-H.
Tool Kit Goal:
The goal of this kit is to provide resources for 4-H club members, clubs, advisors, and parents. These resources can help clubs use activities and lessons that allow girls to participate in and benefit from 4-H activities in the same way that boys do.
Girls are vulnerable to many potential problems:
- 70% of out-of-school children are girls.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, three-quarters of HIV+ teens are girls.
- Pregnancy is the leading cause of death in girls 15-19.
- 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty and are more likely than boys to be uneducated, married at a young age, and exposed to HIV/AIDS.
These problems continue the cycle of poverty to the next generation.
Less than two percent of aid funding goes directly to girls. But an educated girl will invest 90% of her future income in her family, compared to 35% for a boy.
Girls ages 12 and older are especially vulnerable as they become adolescents. Perhaps they are not able to advance to secondary school. Fortunately, 4-H programs can reach this age group.
Helping boys and girls participate equally in 4-H is one way to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage for girls. When we help girls develop their potential and improve their lives, others also benefit. Communities, brothers, fathers, future husbands, and future sons – and fellow male 4-H members – also benefit.
4-H is a youth development program. Members learn agricultural and other income-generating skills that can help them earn a livelihood. At the same time, members learn life skills such as leadership, confidence, problem solving, and teamwork. Club activities and practices must give girls and boys opportunities to develop these skills. “When we are given leadership training, we all benefit because the boys learn the importance of women becoming leaders,” said a Tanzania 4-H member. However, cultural traditions, community beliefs, or club or public policies sometimes keep girls from taking full advantage of all the benefits of 4-H.
A person’s sex is determined by biology. But a person’s gender is determined by culture, personal beliefs, and attitudes. We can change our culture, beliefs, and attitudes about what boys can and should do and what girls can and should do. That means, as 4-H supporters, we can change our beliefs and practices to give both boys and girls opportunities to develop their talents and full potential.