18 SES 10 B JS, Gender Issues and Physical Education
Joint Paper Session NW 18 and NW 27
Research in the last decades on gender and school practices have cast a valuable light on the gender hierarchies and inequalities in schools. Still schools are experienced as institutions maintaining gender normality through various tactics. These tactics include discourse supporting gender steriotypes and traditional values in schools which research has shown can affect achievement of girls and boys but also how students construct their gender identities (Francis & Skelton, 2005; Sauntson, 2012). The lack of gender awareness in Icelandic schools is evident and can be traced to the fact that the initial teacher education has failed to provide education on gender equality, which would support future teachers to become gender aware and advance equality in schools (Guðbjörnsdóttir & Lárusdóttir, 2012; Guðbjörnsdóttir & Þórðardóttir, 2017). Although the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Iceland in first place for eight consecutive years since 2009 (Leopold et al., 2016), Icelandic labour market is still highly gender segregated. Women are 2/3 of the students graduating from universities but still they are not visible but to a small extent in managerial positions in the private sector.
In order to affect or eliminate this paradox the schools have the assigned role of promoting gender equality within and through education (The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, 2012). Projects in Icelandic schools and reports have been conducted that have repeated the same aims, ideas and innovations for promoting gender equality education, challenging gender segregation and traditional ideas of gender roles which have a role in reproducing the unequal opportunities and status of girls and boys in schools and later in society. However, the actual pace of change has been very slow (Einarsdóttir & Jóhannesson, 2011).
The aim of my research is to study the manifestation of femininities and masculinities that emerge among students in the upper level of compulsory school in Iceland. The focus is on femininities and masculinities reflected in discourse and materiality, and how these aspects affect power and participation in 9th grade classes in two compulsory schools. In this research gender is seen as a social construction and humans as actively doing gender.
With a focus on gender in discursive and material orders of schooling, the research asks what kind of gendered subjectivities are constructed within those spaces. Influenced by critical feminist theorization space is seen as constructed through discursive and material practices and being continuously reconstructed within the material conditions, institutional regulations as well as the social hierarchies of the school (Massey 1994; Gordon, Holland & Lahelma 2000).
Studies on space with the focus on gender and sexualities show that space is sexualized by heteronormative discourse and behaviour. Scholars studying how space, sexuality and gender are interconnected have emphasized space as actively produced, built on critical feminist theories, that reject essentialism and argue that individuals do not have pre-existing sexual identities, and neither do spaces (Lefebvre, 1991). Doreen Massey (2009) states that space is a relational product, produced in interrelations or refusal of relations. Spaces can be made, remade and unmade through different relations and lastly she states that space is both a social and a political act and in that way subjects can change and influence their environment with their, presence, discourse, behaviour and embodiment. Using Massey´s understanding of spaces, better understanding can be made of power struggles between students as they claim their spaces through discourse, behaviour and appearances to the hegemonic manifestation of gender and sexuality in the classroom.
The main research question is:
How is sex/gender reflected in the classroom and what role do discourse and space have in supporting the manifestation of femininities and masculinities?
Einarsdóttir , Þorgerður & Jóhannesson, Ingólfur Ásgeir. (2011). Kynjajafnréttisfræðsla í skólum Hindranir og tækifæri (Gender Equality Education in Schools – Obsticles and Opportunities). Netla-Web Journal on Education. Reykjavík: The University of Iceland. Francis, Becky & Skelton, Christine. (2005). Reassessing Gender and Achivement – Questioning conpemporary key debates. New York: Routledge. Gordon, Tuula., Holland, Janet., Lahelma, Elina. & Tolonen, Tarja. (2005). Gazing with Intent: Ethnographic Practice in Classrooms. Qualitative Research 5 (1), 113‒131. London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi: Sage. Doi: 10.1177/1468794105048659 Guðbjörnsdóttir, Guðný, & Lárusdóttir, Steinunn H. (2012). „Þotulið“ og „setulið“ Kynjajafnrétti og kennaramenntun. [The Jetset and the Couchset: Gender Equality and Teacher Education]. Netla-Web Journal on Education. Reykjavík: The University of Iceland. Guðbjörnsdóttir, Guðný & Þórðardóttir, Þórdís. (2017). Kynjajafnrétti og kennaramenntun (Gender Equality & Teacher Education) 1-22. Netla-Web Journal on Education. Reykjavík: The University of Iceland. Massey, Doreen. (1994). Space, place and gender. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Massey, Doreen. (2009). Concepts of Space and Power in Theory and Political Practice. Documents D´Análisi Geografica 55: 15-26. Lefebvre, Henri. (1991). The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell. Leopold, Alexander, Ratcheva, Vasselina and Saadia, Zahidi. (2016). The Global Gender Gap Report. Geneva: World Economic Forum. Available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GGGR16/WEF_Global_Gender_Gap_Report_2016.pdf Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen. (2014). Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk. Riessman, Cathy K. (2008). Narrative methods for the human sciences. London: Sage. Sauntson, Helen. (2012). Approaches to gender and spoken classroom discourse. Palgrave Macmillan Smith, Dorothy E. (2002). Institutional Ethnography. In T. May (Ed.) Qualitative Research in Action. London: Sage. Taylor, Sari. & Bogdan, Robert. (1998). Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods. A guidebook and resource. (3. Ed.) New York: John Wiley and Sons. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (2012).
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