Gender and education is a global topic and questions about equality in school are vital in school systems all over the world. The study on gender and especially gender sensitive education in other countries can contribute to an informed understanding about specifics, similarities and common claims. Expectedly different cultural contexts can contribute an excellent research ground for the study of patterns, mechanism and norms according to gender in education.
Aim of the study and research questions
The aim of this presentation is to discuss how international studies on gender in education can contribute to Nordic discourses on gender and education and the development of studies on equality in education. For this I shall introduce a study on school projects in Japan and the Philippines and discuss the following questions.
- How do gender studies in different Asian nations introduce possibilities and hindrances of gender sensitive education at school?
- How do teachers address gender matters at school according to these sources?
- In which way are schools being described as gendered institutions?
Theoretical perspective and conceptual framework
The study on Gender in the two Asia countries was rooted within social science Japanese studies, the area in which I did my research for about a decade. The theoretical background were studies on gender within Japanese sociology of education. By including findings on the Philippines I aimed at opening the perspective on Japan by contributing information on another Asian reality.
The study builds on a secondary analysis of field and evaluation studies on gender sensitive school projects. Interest in other parts of the world does not necessarily mean that we have to conduct own field studies in foreign countries. Much information is available if we have access to local studies.
The results show that gender is a relevant issue of study in Japanese and Philippinian primary education. The projects are concerned about gender consciousness of teachers and students. Gender stereotypes for example in study materials are analysed. Possibilities of crossing gender roles are to some extent encouraged. Teachers discuss even their responsibility in relation to the students’ family context. In Japan standardisation of gender roles is one of the problems being tackled. The results from the Philippines show that more attention must be paid to the intersection of gender and class.
Relevance for Nordic Educational research
The discussion I want to initiate is if and in which way international studies on gender and education can stimulate discussions on a gender perspective and equality in education in Nordic countries.
Trondheim: NERA , 2009. 93- p.