Is gender parity in education the same as gender equality? And what about gender equity? These terms have different meanings but are often conflated to mean the balance between the number of boys and girls attending school. This statistical measure of parity says nothing of gender equality or equity, and misses important issues of education quality. And yet gender parity is precisely the indicator used by many school systems, international assessments, and global development goals to judge an education system’s approach to gender.

Today’s guest, Supriya Baily, argues that when the language of parity is used to discuss equity, we miss the large structural factors that actually hinder gender justice in education. In a new article, co-written with Halla Holmarsdottir for the journal Gender and Education, she argues that gender equality is different from gender parity and that we must move beyond simplistic notions of access to really understand gender and education. Dr. Baily is an Associate Professor at George Mason University and the Associate Director for the Center for International Education.  Her research interests focus on gender, education, and empowerment as well as higher education in India.