Co-education and the erosion of gender stereotypes in the Zambian Copperbelt
This paper explores how single-sex and co-education affect girls’ and boys’ gender beliefs and relations. Earlier research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that co-educational schools are sites of male intimidation, violence, and unequal power relations. Meanwhile single-sex education is said to enhance girls’ self-confidence, improve their academic scores, and enable them to act as leaders, in a safe space, absent of boys. However, recent qualitative research in the Zambian Copperbelt suggests that co-education may actually be more conducive to gender equality. Seeing girls demonstrate equal competence in mixed-sex classes can undermine gender stereotypes, on the part of girls and boys alike. The research also calls into question assumptions that single-sex education is necessarily better at enhancing girls’ self-confidence and protecting them from intimidation and male violence.
This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.
How to cite this resource
Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context. You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL
Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.