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Dr Nerissa Hannink
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A new early secondary school program is equipping teachers to tackle gender inequality and gender-based violence in the classroom.

Authored by University of Melbourne academics, the curriculum Connect with respect: Preventing gender-based violence in schools is being translated into Chinese, Khmer and Myanmar languages for teachers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Lead academic Associate Professor Helen Cahill said that the program is freely available and relevant to all high school teachers who want to address this issue.

“We know that gender-based violence is a profound issue in Australia with significant individual, social, health and economic costs.

“1 in 3 women internationally experience physical or sexual violence, mostly perpetrated by an intimate partner. Girls and women are frequently targeted, but so are people who do not conform to conventional gender and sexuality norms.

“Schools can help foster attitudes that underpin respectful relationships, and teach peer support and help seeking skills.

“The activities also teach students to recognise how gender norms influence thinking and behaviour, so they can see how certain attitudes and practices can cause harm,” Associate Professor Cahill said.

The program was commissioned by UNESCO, UNICEF, Plan International and UN Women, the East Asia Pacific UN Girls’ Education Initiative and the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.

Initiatives such as this are critical to interrupt patterns of gender inequality and violence, says Justine Sass, Head of UNESCO Bangkok’s HIV Prevention and Health Promotion Unit.

“The Asia-Pacific region is home to over 60% of the world’s young people, and they’ve shown great leadership in developing this unique resource,” Ms Sass said.

The school curriculum can be downloaded from http://unesdoc.unesco....