Women’s empowerment through openness: OER, OEP and the Sustainable Development Goals

Leigh-Anne Perryman, Beatriz de los Arcos


This paper explores the potential of open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) in helping achieve women’s empowerment in the developing world. Our evidence comprises the Open Education Research Hub open dataset, featuring survey responses from 7,700 educators, formal and informal learners from 175 countries concerning the use of OER, the barriers faced in respect of OER adoption and OEP engagement, and the perceived impact of OER on teaching practices. Our findings indicate that OER and OEP can give women a voice, access to information and education, and the opportunity to connect with peers and train others. However, they also highlight extreme inequalities in digital empowerment and extensive technological barriers to digital participation. We argue that while such technological barriers certainly need removing, the potential of openness can only fully be realised when ‘offline’ societal and economic barriers to women’s empowerment are also minimised.


Sustainable development goals: Women’s empowerment; OER; OEP; open educational resources; open educational practices; gender; developing countries

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.2.289


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