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Article

Feminist Frameworks for Educational Leadership in the United States  

Catherine Marshall and Torrie Edwards

Feminist insights offer ways to rethink and restructure schooling to fit with realities faced by educators, students, and families. This article relies on its model of values affecting schooling policies and practices then presents the range of feminisms, It shows how feminisms would be seen as looking awry and would be assessed as inadequate and inappropriate for leaders. It then charts their implications for school leaders, who will be able to identify the values, structures, and power arrangements to be questioned and altered.

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Feminist Curriculum Studies  

Mary Newbery

Since the 1960s, feminist curriculum scholarship and social and political activism have been entangled in mutually influential ways. Feminist engagements with difference demonstrate the complex ways the field of curriculum studies is immersed in the cultural, social, and political commitments of the wider communities in which it inhabits. As second-wave feminist scholars grappled with their understandings of and resistances to the “Man” of liberal humanism occurring in the United States amid the social and political upheavals occurring in the United States beginning in the late 1950s, feminist curriculum scholars engaged in related academic endeavors. For example, prevalent themes in these “early” feminist curriculum scholars’ work included taking up feminist themes of “the personal as political” and women’s solidarity as a political strategy enacted to resist patriarchy. By the 1980s, however, feminist scholars began to decenter the universal, humanist subject amid widespread critiques of the lack of inclusivity in second-wave feminisms. These efforts helped complexify our understandings of the “we” of feminism(s) and feminist curriculum studies. These decenterings led to what some have called an identity crisis in both mainstream and academic renderings of feminism(s), characterized by two distinct and oftentimes factionalized feminist approaches for understanding difference. The first was the adoption of identity politics as the foundation for theories and activisms directed toward emancipatory ideals and outcomes. From this perspective, solidarity within identity groups became a feminist strategy on which to build knowledge projects and activisms. The second, sometimes categorized under the umbrella of poststructural feminism(s), understood freedom as deriving from a rejection of identity as static, and instead dismissed the notion of foundational subjectivity as a precursor for both feminist scholarship and political activism. In feminist curriculum studies, these developments led to troublings of teachers’ autobiographical subjectivity and challenges to historical accounts that include the interrogation of humanist notions of representation, reflection, and linearity, for example. Not all relationships with feminism(s) fit into this category, however. The political and cultural environment of the 1980s included the rise of a highly mobilized New Right, characterized in the United States by the Reagan and Bush Sr. presidencies, a deteriorating job market in Western economies, deregulation, an acceleration of asymmetrical flows of global capital, transnational trade agreements, and the exploitation of non-Western job markets for cheap labor. This led to new and different intertwinings of feminism and neoliberal capitalism. As a result, both mainstream and academic feminism(s) were increasingly engaged with the paradoxes and contradictions of postfeminism, a concept utilized to characterize both an acknowledgment and rejection of feminism(s) during this era. By the second decade of the new millennium, a fourth wave seemed imminent, brought on by global responses to the September 11, 2001, bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and hashtag movements such as #me too and #Bringbackourgirls movements. As bodies, capital, and the material world mingle and flow in newly explored and complex ways, emergent trends in feminist curriculum studies include an increased interest in the non-human, posthuman, and more-than-human worlds and the ways they intra-act with feminist new materialist theories and post-anthropocentric worlds.

Article

Gender Equitable Education and Technological Innovation  

Jennifer Jenson and Suzanne de Castell

The literature on gender equity, education, and technological innovation identifies three primary areas of concern: STEM (collective disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), computer science, and, interestingly enough, reading comprehension. These gendered divides are often framed in public discourse as problems of equality; however, most research and scholarly discussions focus on equity, on fairness. Considerable work by feminists in the social studies of science and technology, demonstrating how innovation and technology are already gendered, has lent strong support to an educational emphasis on how “fairness” might best be achieved. It remains the case that “gender” in most research studies refers to a binarized conception of sex: either male or female, girls or boys, men or women. However, critical intersectional understandings of gender that take into account age, socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and dis/abilities hold out promise for more nuanced understandings of inequities in education. For example, taking the widest perspective, it is socioeconomic class, not gender, that continues to create the greatest disparities in educational outcomes, whereas within any given socioeconomic context, gender is paramount. For girls and women, equity-focused educational interventions aim to develop better pathways to higher education and jobs in STEM subjects and fields. Female underrepresentation in STEM and computer science is often framed as a gender-specific skills deficit impeding access to and success in globally competitive, technologically innovative, and the most highly remunerated occupations, rather than as a barrier created by differences in expectations, norms, experience, and prior educational provision. Gender equity initiatives for school-aged boys are concentrated in the areas of reading and comprehension skills, with little connection made in the literature to either presumptions about or implications of this underachievement as a deficit that jeopardizes future educational or vocational skills. It may be that evolving conceptions and practices of gender that take better account of both gender diversity and intersectionality will enable educational interventions beyond these stereotypical and binarized educational analyses and initiatives, lending hope that we may yet see women and girls assuming not just an equitable but indeed a transformative role in technological innovation.

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Gender and Technology in Education  

Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer

This article defines and analyses multiple theoretical frameworks which have been developed in order to explain the interactions of gender and digital technology in schooling. Specifically, this article addresses: science and technology studies (STS) and education, technofeminism and education, post-humanism and education, and liberal rights framings of gender and technology. These frameworks offer a key backdrop to the sites of several educational policy and pedagogical conflicts that have recently arisen around gender, technology, and education. These frameworks are explained in ways that foregrounds there connections to schooling debates around: cyberbullying, speech rights, activism, embodiment, queer pedagogies, and digital divides.

Article

Gender Equity in HIV/AIDS Education  

Kacie Kidd

Since its initial discovery in the early 1980s, through the development of treatment and prophylaxis medications as well as continued attempts at vaccination development, HIV/AIDS has changed the narrative about infectious diseases around the world. It has led to recognition of the complexities of the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, age, culture, and socioeconomic status while simultaneously highlighting gender inequities in all aspects of the disease. These inequities present in clinical trials that include only subsets of the population, prevention strategies that are offered based on oversimplified assumptions about sexual behaviors, and limited education about risk for everyone from schoolchildren through medical professionals. Activists and public health advocates push for inclusion and transparency in research and treatment for HIV/AIDS, but education at all levels has lagged. The United Nations and the International Conference on Population Development have declared school-based sex education a goal for all countries in order to reduce the health burden of HIV/AIDS. Sex education in schools varies between and within countries, with no standardization of how to best educate youth about sex, reproductive health, or disease prevention. Despite continued challenges with curriculum incorporation and content, research suggests that key qualities of an effective educational program include the creation of a safe space for student questions, inclusion of diverse voices, and clear guidance for preventing sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS. In order to mitigate continued inequity over the next several decades and beyond, comprehensive HIV/AIDS education must emphasize the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, age, culture, and socioeconomic status at all levels from elementary introductions through training for medical and mental health researchers and providers.

Article

Gender and Latinx Pedagogy  

Mirelsie Velazquez

The education of Latina/o/x populations in the United States has been the focus of debates, struggles, and community engagement for over 100 years. From linguistic inequalities, deficit perspectives, and community battles, to contemporary rhetoric on access, this entry explores the relationship between schools/schooling and Latina/o/x communities, both historically and in the contemporary context. Important to these narratives is the role of Latinas. To understand their centrality, it is important that the works of Latina and Chicana theorists and scholars are in conversation with one another to contextualize the role of Latinas, whether as community organizers, educators, or mothers, in the education of Latina/o/x populations, and by extension in the overall well-being of their communities. Similarly, the scholarship on and by Latinas complicates the role of stories and their positionality in education research.

Article

Race and Gender Intersectionality and Education  

Venus E. Evans-Winters

When recognizing the cultural political agency of Black women and girls from diverse racial and ethnic, gender, sexual, and socioeconomic backgrounds and geographical locations, it is argued that intersectionality is a contributing factor in the mitigation of educational inequality. Intersectionality as an analytical framework helps education researchers, policymakers, and practitioners better understand how race and gender intersect to derive varying amounts of penalty and privilege. Race, class, and gender are emblematic of the three systems of oppression that most profoundly shape Black girls at the personal, community, and social structural levels of institutions. These three systems interlock to penalize some students in schools while privileging other students. The intent of theoretically framing and analyzing educational problems and issues from an intersectional perspective is to better comprehend how race and gender overlap to shape (a) educational policy and discourse, (b) relationships in schools, and (c) students’ identities and experiences in educational contexts. With Black girls at the center of analysis, educational theorists and activists may be able to better understand how politics of domination are organized along other axes such as ethnicity, language, sexuality, age, citizenship status, and religion within and across school sites. Intersectionality as a theoretical framework is informed by a variety of standpoint theories and emancipatory projects, including Afrocentrism, Black feminism and womanism, critical race theory, queer theory, radical Marxism, critical pedagogy, and grassroots’ organizing efforts led by Black, Indigenous, and other women of color throughout US history and across the diaspora.

Article

Sex/Gender and Affect/Emotion  

Barbara S. Stengel

Sex/gender and affect/emotion mutually implicate one another in any theory, research, or practice with respect to education. It is important to examine these two elements together because the emergent focus on affect since the early 1970s is not an accident of thought but tracks the interest in sex/gender as an object of study and tracks as well the increased and increasing visibility of scholars who are not male, cisgendered, and heterosexual. Two overlapping but distinguishable approaches to the study of affect and emotion—affect theory and the feminist politics of emotion—have contributed to changing conceptions of sexuality and gender with respect to educational purposes and pedagogies. Affect theory begins and ends in lived experience; a feminist politics of emotion begins and ends in the press for active response that accompanies that lived experience. Nonetheless, there is a common concern with how power circulates through feeling and how ways of being and knowing come to be through affective relations and discourses. Moreover, there is a shared commitment to understanding affects not as constraints on rationality and hurdles to ethical action, but as the potential to think, act, and live differently.

Article

Centering Young Black Women’s and Girls’ Voices in STEM Participation in the United States  

Kara Mitchell, Carla Wellborn, and Chezare Warren

There has been growing scholarly interest in Black girls’ and young women’s matriculation across the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline. This interest is fueled by the STEM field’s maintenance of a largely White and male culture, despite the passage of Title IX laws in the 1970s. This exploration of Black women’s and girls’ STEM participation has been incredibly important for extending what is known about this group. Less discernible from the extant literature is Black women’s and girls’ first-person sensemaking about the moments, people, incidents, and environments that determine not just their participation but also their persistence into and through higher education to complete a STEM undergraduate degree. The language of trajectories implicates life course, growth, and development in ability over time with age and experience. The various environments influencing young Black women’s and girls’ learning about STEM, and their decisions about how or if to participate in STEM, are informed by constantly evolving understandings of their intersectional race–gender identity. This identity is changing over time as they grow older and come into contact with various STEM learning opportunities, people, and places. Young Black women and girls are keenly aware of race–gender limitations imposed on them by dominant cultural norms, institutional agents, and experiences with institutional policy and practice. Such perspectives are shaping how they come to view themselves aside from STEM and the decisions they make at each point on the STEM pipeline specific to their desire to own a STEM identity despite their subject position as a race–gender minoritized person in STEM subjects and majors.

Article

Feminist Theory and Its Use in Qualitative Research in Education  

Emily Freeman

Feminist theory rose in prominence in educational research during the 1980s and experienced a resurgence in popularity during the late 1990s−2010s. Standpoint epistemologies, intersectionality, and feminist poststructuralism are the most prevalent theories, but feminist researchers often work across feminist theoretical thought. Feminist qualitative research in education encompasses a myriad of methods and methodologies, but projects share a commitment to feminist ethics and theories. Among the commitments are the understanding that knowledge is situated in the subjectivities and lived experiences of both researcher and participants and research is deeply reflexive. Feminist theory informs both research questions and the methodology of a project in addition to serving as a foundation for analysis. The goals of feminist educational research include dismantling systems of oppression, highlighting gender-based disparities, and seeking new ways of constructing knowledge.

Article

Sociology of Gender and Education  

Mohammad Naeimi and Jón Ingvar Kjaran

Sociology of gender and education is an interdisciplinary subfield of inquiry in sociology that is situated in feminist sociological theories and education/pedagogy/schooling. The field investigates complex, multileveled, and unequal distributions of power in educational spaces regarding gender constructions, identities, and characteristics such as femininity, masculinity, non-normativity, and nonbinarism. More precisely, sociology of gender and education deeply inquiries how and to what extend education systems and schools, as modern institutions of society and public sectors, embody power and resources to reinforce and deploy the social order built historically around male gender privilege while maintaining women’s and other marginalized groups’ issues at the periphery. The researchers of this field, therefore, by touching upon historical, political, and sociocultural accounts, highlight and criticize the heteronormative, patriarchal, and male-centered inherence of the educational environment that (re)produces gender distinctions, gender inequality, and gender-based violence. These gender inequalities can be found in areas and aspects of education including curricula, learning material, teacher-student interaction, and school culture.

Article

Curricula of Care and Radical Love  

Racheal Banda, Ganiva Reyes, and Blanca Caldas

Curricula of care and radical love encompass a collective and communal responsibility for education practitioners, leaders, and researchers to meet the needs of the historically marginalized communities they serve and of their work toward social change. These articulations are largely drawn from the ontologies, ways of knowing, communal practices, and traditions of the Global South as articulated by Black and Chicana/Latina women. Starting in the 1980s, Nel Noddings’ work around ethics of care sparked philosophical discussions of care within the education field. Educational scholars, including critical scholars of color, have been influenced by care theories that emphasize care as rooted in relationships and everyday interactions between educators and students. Feminists of color and critical education scholars have expanded theories of care in education by pointing out the ways in which race and other social identifiers impact interpretations of care. Even before the work of current care theorists, by the turn of the twentieth century, Anna Julia Cooper argued for a love-politic that decentered romantic love and instead centered a self-determining and emancipatory form of love. This opened a pathway for a radical, Black feminist conceptualization of love. Black feminist scholars have since further developed and expanded upon conceptualizations of a love-politic contributing to a more robust understanding of care and love. Latina/Chicana feminists have also contributed to onto-theoretical insights that highlight how care is a necessity toward critical understandings, personal connections, self-work, and movement building. Concepts such as convivencia and cariño from Latina/Chicana feminists demonstrate how care is co-constructed through relationship building over time and through the sharing of life experiences. Moreover, practices like othermothering and radical love further reveal how intimate and personal interactions are necessary for critical self-growth and communal love toward liberation. From this view, to love and care in ways that advance justice in education requires an expansive approach to curriculum and pedagogy, which includes spaces beyond classroom walls like the home, families, communities, culture, and non-school organizations. Taken together, scholars, educators, and other stakeholders in education may find use in drawing upon feminist of color conceptions and literature of care and love to reimagine transformative possibilities for education research, policy, practice, and curriculum.

Article

Aspirations to Gender Equality in Philosophy, Political Activism, and Education  

Gregory Bynum

Late 20th-century and early 21st-century social movement toward gender equality in society has been significant. Parents and educators commonly expect that all youngsters should have the same life opportunities regardless of gender. In education, girls and young women are excelling, often equaling and even surpassing boys and men in academic performance and in earning college degrees and graduate degrees. Further, women are more frequently assuming traditionally “masculine” professional roles (doctor, lawyer, manager, legislator, governor, and others) while men more frequently assume traditionally “feminine” roles, successfully taking on more child care and housework, and working in nursing and other traditionally “feminine” fields. At the same time, preferences for gender hierarchy are still strongly expressed in many areas of society. At the top of leading social institutions including government and business, men still possess far more political, economic, and intellectual leadership power and authority in comparison to women; and in reaction to political and economic power imbalances, women’s rights activists sometimes express the idea of female superiority instead of arguing for gender equality. In the area of socialization, girls and women continue experiencing high levels of gender-specific pressure to conform to narrow ideals of physical beauty and emotional supportiveness, while boys and men continue experiencing pressure to avoid communicating about their vulnerabilities and emotions, possibly stunting their emotional development and impairing their mental health. In this context, gender equality emerges as a vital, early-21st-century educational imperative that is essential in actualizing what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has designated the right of all people to an education for the “full development of the human personality.” In the gender equality imperative’s emergence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the following elements are all interrelated: philosophical perspectives and sociopolitical developments indicating a need for gender equality, thinking and practices opposed to gender equality, and the development of pro-gender-equality educational understandings and practices.

Article

Gender, Justice, and Equity in Education  

Elisabet Öhrn and Gaby Weiner

The field known as gender and education emerged in the 1970s, and currently addresses a range of issues of equity and justice in education with the widespread incorporation of “intersectionality” (i.e., the interlocking nature of gender and other categorizations such as social class, race, ethnicity, sexualities, disability). The topics and practices constituting the field have changed over the years, as demonstrated in a survey by the authors of Gender and Education, the main journal of choice for those working in the field. Key topics addressed by researchers include patterns of examination achievement, curriculum and school practices, and the variety of femininities and masculinities produced with/in schooling and education. Overarching themes on the conduct of the field include decreased focus on practice and action, increased emphasis on theorization, critique of the dualisms on which the field is based (girl/boy, male/female, masculinity/femininity), and Anglophone and Western bias.

Article

Rethinking Spaces of Confinement Through Black Girl Embodiment  

Dominique C. Hill

Carcerality in educational settings tends to focus on the school-to-prison pipeline and other ways that bodies differentially marked by race, gender, and, more recently, sexuality and ability are punished and tracked into the juvenile justice system. The ongoing chain between marginalized bodies and criminality is evident in rates of incarceration based on race and gender specifically. Black lesbian feminist organizing of the late 20th century called attention to the relationship between social identities and carcerality. Expanding on this work, Black feminist scholarship argues that Black womxn and girls are inherently valuable and that liberation is necessary for autonomy. Scholarship, however, illustrates how freedom for Black womxn and girls are directly mediated by systems of race, gender, sexuality, class, as well as by the discourses created to maintain order through institutions such as schools and prisons. Building on the preceding connections between social identities and confinement, Black girls’ specific encounters with high-stakes policies, such as zero-tolerance, and school discipline reveal new textures and distinct qualities of carcerality that expand education’s understanding of carceral spaces and experiences. In a society that presumes Black girls need no protection because their Blackness is feared while their femininity remains unrealized, Black girls’ bodily deliberations and embodied choices are acts of resistance and self-definition.

Article

Urban Teaching and Black Girls’ Pedagogies  

Menah Pratt-Clarke, Andrea N. Baldwin, and Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown

To discuss and understand urban teaching and Black girls’ pedagogies, the fundamental premise is that Black girls are not monolithic, but complex and nonhomogenous. Black girlhood studies recognize that, because of their intersectional race, class, and gender status, Black girls have different experiences than Black boys and White girls. Core themes in Black girlhood include self-identity and socialization; beauty and self-expression; popular culture, hip hop, and stereotypes; violence; systemic discipline in schools; and resiliency and survival. Responding to the unique experiences of Black girls, Black women educators developed and adopted a pedagogy that focuses on and centers Black girls and Black girlhood in all their complexity. Using a strengths-based approach, Black girls’ pedagogy is built on a Black feminist and womanist framework that recognizes the need for culturally informed curriculum and classroom experiences, more Black women educators, and a commitment to an ethics of care.

Article

Physical Education, Sports, and Gender  

Beccy Watson, Jayne Caudwell, Belinda Wheaton, and Louise Mansfield

Researching gender across physical education (PE), sport, and physical activity (PA) has firm associations with feminism. As a political movement for gender justice, feminist research examines the ways in which active bodies are dynamic and evolving. This feminist scrutiny is underpinned by scholarship that explores both formal educational and sporting contexts as well as informal activities. The term sport incorporates a range of physical practices, and a review of extant literature demonstrates the persistence of gendered power relations and the consequences this has for PE, sport, and PA. While the disengagement of girls in formal PE has been recognized as a longstanding and ongoing challenge, PE remains narrowly conceived and defined, often with negative consequences for the young people involved. Attempts to be inclusive in research practice expose a persistent dominance of the Global North in knowledge production in sport, PE, and PA scholarship and highlight prevailing discourses that impact negatively on engaging with complex issues in different contexts. Empirical research studies inform praxis whereby feminist researchers analyze barriers to participation across a wide range of contexts that are not limited to young people and that extend to policy matters far beyond PE, such as public health and numerous sites of negotiation for access at community level and to a vast array of informal activity. Key themes for researching active bodies include space and alternative contexts, shifting gender boundaries and disrupting binaries, intersections and difference, exclusion and inequalities, healthism and wellbeing agendas.

Article

Critical Gender Geographies  

Boni Wozolek

Critical geography, as it is studied in North America and parts of Europe, has been growing since the 1970s. However, focusing on gender, sexual orientation, race, home language, or the like, was not a primary concern of the field until the mid-1980s. As radical critical geography shifted toward cultural and critical geography, marginalized voices could be heard in and across the field in local and less-local contexts. As critical geography began to intersect with education in the mid-1990s, it became a tool for studying marginalization across layers of scale. Fields of geography are impacted as much by contemporary sociopolitical dialogues as they are by educational research and its related historical boundaries and borders. Finally, it is significant to consider what a critical gender-queer geography might mean as the field continues to grow.

Article

Provocations, Perspectives, and Possibilities of Chicana/Latina Feminist Pedagogies  

Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski

Chicana/Latina feminist thought and pedagogies offer interdisciplinary contributions that reimagine family, community, liberation, teaching, and learning rooted in de-colonial praxis. Chicana/Latina feminist thought and pedagogies have cultivated theoretical, methodological, and epistemological cartographies that map questions such as: what are the evolving conditions that shape the oppression Chicanas face in their daily lives?; how do Chicanas cultivate multiple subjectivities that strive for embodied wholeness rather than partiality?; in what ways can intersectionality as a theory of oppression not difference dismantle systems of privilege and inequality that are pervasive within institutions such as education, healthcare, the prison industrial complex, the military, religion, families, and mass media?; and how can theories of the flesh which emerge through the lived experiences of Chicanas’ lives offer new pathways to coalition building, activism, scholarship, and teaching and learning that remain bridged to equity, and to justice as praxis not place? Chicana feminist thought includes themes of the history and material conditions of Chicanas as the basis for feminist consciousness, reclaiming malinchismo and marianismo, sexuality (Chicanas as sexual subjects), a commitment to political action, coalition building and recognition of difference among Chicanas, and challenging the vendida logic within Chicano culture. Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogies are insistent that everyday experiences of Chicanas are worth studying because they serve as key sources of knowledge that are necessary to theorize new de-colonial visions of life, family, labor, community, and education. Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogies are multidisciplinary in their approach and are culturally specific ways of organizing teaching and learning in informal sites such as the home and community, ways that embrace Chicana ways of knowing and creating knowledge that point to schooling spaces as full of creativity, agency, movement, and coalition building.

Article

Critical Autism Studies, Race, Gender, and Education  

Robin Roscigno

Critical autism studies (CAS) is an emergent field that challenges deficit-based thinking about autism. Early scholars of autism, such as psychologists Bruno Bettelheim, Leo Kanner, or Ivar O. Lovaas, adopted a biomedical or behavioral approach to the study of autism. Rejecting such an approach, critical disability studies and by extension CAS have developed robust theoretical frameworks to account for the sociocultural and embodied experience of disability, including the social model of disability, the cultural model of disability, and poststructural models of disability. These approaches to the study of disability challenge medical models of disability that understand disability as an individual experience of impairment. Disability is framed as a problem to be solved via biomedicine and helping professionals and instead conceive of disability as a web of sociocultural entanglements. In contrast, theoretical approaches to critical autism studies include critical discourse analysis (CDA), feminist theory, and critical race theory. Scholars using CDA explore how ableism is produced and sustained through discourses, particularly public discourses within the media, scholarship, non-governmental organizations, and schools. Critical autism scholars who employ critical race theory seek to understand the intersectional identities of autistic people of color and the compounding effects of racism and ableism. Feminist approaches to the study of autism trouble gender stereotypes about autistic people, most notably Simon Baron Cohen’s extreme male brain theory.