Publication Date



These manuals were made possible through support from the University Development Linkages Project, Global Bureau, Human Capacity Development Center, U.S. Agency for International Development under the terms of Cooperative Agreement No. DAN-5063-A-00-1108-00.


A manual which explores how gender issues affect literacy programs and women’s and girls’ education. The information is based on the author’s work with women’s groups in Nepal and Latin America.

Literacy programs designed specifically with women in mind can provide women with the guidance and support necessary to help them gain self-confidence and self-dignity. With creativity and commitment, facilitators in literacy classes can expand their program beyond basic reading and writing skills, using activities that will help both men and women improve women's status in the community, their access to community resources, and their overall health and well-being.

This manual is designed to provided a self-training process for literacy practitioners who need to understand gender issues. It will help you analyze how customs and assumptions about women in their society may affect their individual development and their ability to contribute to the well-being of their families and communities. While following through this manual, you will have an opportunity to critically examine your local program and materials to see how they reflect the values regarding women's contribution in society. The activities will help you examine the roles that men and women play in your community, and ways to discuss this with both women and men. From what you learn in this manual, you will be able to redesign a program or produce new literacy materials that focus on women's issues and the roles that men and women play in the family and community.

This manual is intended for practitioners who are interested in starting or enhancing an adult literacy program. The activities are designed for practitioners who want to better understand and incorporate gender issues into their curriculum. The activities in the manual are structured to help you first teach yourself and then design learning activities for literacy learners.

Section One discusses the connections between literacy, gender and development and how men and women experience literacy differently. Section Two introduces key gender concepts with examples from literacy materials from around the world and suggestions for how to initiate discussions of gender issues in literacy classes. It covers concepts of sexual division of labor, patriarchy, gender subordination, male bias, oppression and gender equality. It also provides guidelines for analyzing local materials and stimulating learner writing. Section Three helps you analyze how men and women are socialized differently for their roles in society, and provides exercises for you and your learners to explore your own socialization process and location in society. While going through the different steps of this manual you will be analyzing communities and and literacy materials from a gender perspective. In this section, you will use the activities to first teach yourself and then to prepare learning activities for your literacy class.

Book Series Title

The literacy Linkage Series Manuals