Gender Sensitive

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 4.a calls for “education facilities that are child, disa-bility and gender sensitive.”


Most governments might understand this to mean schools that are sensitive to the needs of women and girls. However, the term “gender sensitive” can also be interpreted as “LGBT sensitive,” which can give a completely new meaning to the interpretation of “gender sensitive” educational facilities in SDG Target 4a. In other words, Target 4a calling for “gender sensitive” facilities may be inter-preted to require schools to permit cross-sex or cross-gender use of student bathrooms and showers based on a student’s “gender identity.”


For example, the state of Oregon in the U.S. defines “gender sensitive” this way:


“Gender sensitive” – Materials and instruction strategies that is [sic] sensitive to individual’s similarities and differences regarding gender role, gender identity and/or sexual orientation.”


In addition, a publication with contributions from WHO and UNESCO called Building a Gender Friendly School Environment uses a broader definition of “gender”:


“in discussing gender issues in relation to learning institutions, it is important to consider all gender and sexual identities in order to foster the development of all learners … [and] promo-tion of the rights of all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”


[Note: See also the “Inclusion/Inclusive” section for information regarding “inclusive schools,” which are also called for under SDG Goal 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”