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Discussion on gender mainstreaming in university curricula

A symposium entitled ‘Gender mainstreaming in university curricula’ was recent­ly organised by the Uni­ver­sity of Malta’s Gender Issues Committee (GIC).

The keynote speaker was Dr Sabine Ludwig, responsible for Gender and Diversity in Medical Education at the Charitè University, Berlin, Germany. Quoting a policy paper of the Standing Committee of European doctors, she said that “in order to achieve high quality equitable care, it is necessary to reflect awareness for sex and gender based patient needs in medical education, training, re­search and the everyday patient-doctor relationship”. She went on to speak about how this mainstreaming can be achieved.

She also gave the results of a survey carried out among 36 medical faculties in Germany which showed that sex and gender are not yet systematically integrated in medical curricula in Germany.

Prof. Mary Darmanin, from the Department of Education Studies of the University of Malta’s Faculty of Education, delivered a presentation entitled ‘Individual discretion versus mainstreaming’ in which she gave an overview of her department’s approach to the issue.

In a presentation entitled ‘Making technology education appeal to females’, Dr Sarah Pule from the same faculty’s Department of Technology and Entrepreneurship showed how titles and images used in teaching resources have been modified to make them more appealing to various learning styles.

Dr Brenda Murphy, head of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing’s Department of Gender Studies spoke about establishing a mainstream accessible for all, so that all faculties “have gender embedded into each of them” since “every discipline is gendered and all knowledge is gendered”.

The symposium was chaired by GIC committee chairperson Prof. Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta and was also addressed by Dr Carmen Sammut, pro-rector for student and staff affairs and outreach. Dr Sammut emphasised that the EU approach to gender mainstreaming is not to consider it as a policy goal in itself but as a means to achieve the ultimate goal of gender equality.

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