10 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Gender equality (GE) is a fundamental human right and a social justice principle (UNESCO, 2015). Men and women are biologically different, which is reflected in the concept of sex, and may embrace specific socially constructed roles, which are captured in the concept of gender. However, biological and other differences between them should not give raise to socio-cultural, political, educational and/or economic inequalities and discrimination. Since the 1960s, several initiatives have been taken at global, regional and national levels to address gender equality; consequently, many countries signed international agreements to promote this basic right. The Dakar ‘Education for All’ (EFA) goals and Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals both emphasized gender parity and gender equality to be achieved by 2005 and 2015, respectively. Moreover, the revised frameworks for EFA in the 2030 education agenda and the draft of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNESCO, 2016a; 2016b) give a central position to gender equality by recognizing as essential to achieve these goals by supporting gender-sensitive policies, mainstreaming gender issues in teacher training and curricula, and eliminating gender-based discrimination and violence in schools (World Education Forum, 2015).
As mandated, one important step towards achieving gender equality is to mainstream gender issues in the education process through curricula and teacher training. This requires that educational institutions adopt responsive policies and plans, and transform pedagogical approaches. Mainstreaming GE in teacher education institutions is crucial for two main reasons. Firstly, GE is a priority on the international development agenda, and secondly, teachers are central to the education system for the key roles they play in the transmission of values, knowledge, and skills. Bearing the above international commitments in mind, measuring and evaluating gender equality in education is increasingly demanding at all levels.
Spain is a country that has achieved impressive GE in education (Organic Laws 1/2004 and 3/2007), however, in practice, the implementation of a gender perspective in teaching is practically not existent or poorly implemented. In the higher education area, several studies provide evidence that gender perspective has not emerged as a serious priority in curricular reform (Atchison, 2013; Cassese, Boss, & Duncan, 2012: 238; Grünberg, 2011; Verdonk et al., 2009). Instead, there is a continued resistance to integrating gender into higher education curriculum. Literature review in gender equality shows that opposition to gender reforms is likely to emerge where institutional cultures protect male privilege and power (Mergaert & Lombardo, 2014), where innovations do not resonate with the values and norms of their members (Hafner-Burton & Pollack, 2009), and where gender reforms target the very same gendered norms, practices and routines of organisations and institutions (Benschop & Verloo, 2011). As a result, resistance, defined as the effort towards “maintaining the status quo and opposing change” (Lombardo & Mergaert, 2013: 299) may lead to non-implementation of gender reforms and, consequetly, may produce indifference to or non-awareness of gendered policy problems (Cavaghan, 2017).
Until now, no measures have been developed to measure prospective teachers’ sensitivity to gender equality. This study reports on the development and initial testing of a scale to assess the extent to which colleges of education prepare student teachers to be gender sensitive in their practice as teachers. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether student teachers perceive GE as an important issue in teacher education and whether institutions and instructors are sensitive to gender issues. We aimed to answer the following research questions: (1) How important student teachers perceive training for GE in their institution?, (2) How sensitive to mainstreaming gender their instituions are?, and (3) What perceptions respondents have of inequalities in classroom settings?
Context The study was a university-based descriptive cross-sectional study carried out at one faculty (school of education) of a public university institution in the Valencian Community, Spain. Teacher education programs at this faculty of education are committed to providing teacher candidates appropriate and sufficient training to understand, accept, and embrace gender equality as required by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA), but in practice institutions do not provide evidence of mainstreaming gender into curricula. Instrument In this context, the Survey on Sensitivity to Gender Equality (SSGE) in teacher education was specifically designed to be used in this study. The items in this instrument were selected after a literature review of relevant previously published work on the field (e.g., European Parliament, 2010; UNESCO, 2015). The primary tool included 38 questions asking respondents for their degree of agreement on the issue of teacher training on GE based upon a 6-point Likert-type scale ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Face validity and content validity were assessed by consulting a group of experts who helped assess the relevance of each item. Modifications were made according to their recommendations. Before main administration, a pilot survey was carried out to determine its reliability and factor structure. After preliminary analyses, 18 questions comprised the revised scale that showed evidence that it was psychometrically sound in terms of item characteristics, scale reliability, and construct validity. Participants Participants were kindergarten and elementary student teachers enrolled in their first, second, third, and four year of study, representing the cohorts of the academic year 2017-2018. They were asked for their consent to participate in this study, after permission was granted by the institution and the classroom instructors. Respondents anonymously and voluntarily completed the survey at the beginning of one of their classes during second semester. Three hundred and ninety-nine (N = 399) students enrolled in kindergarten and elementary education (51% and 49%, respectively) completed the questionnaire giving a response rate of 79%. The sample consisted primarily of female teachers (84%). The mean age of respondents was 21.44 (SD = 4.10), range 18-50, and most of them were of Spanish nationality (96.7%). Their dedication to the studies was full time (94%). One third of the respondents (37%) indicated having previous notions of gender equality issues. As a whole, the respondents valued the importance of training on GE with a 9.43 out of 10.
Psychometric properties of the scale Construct validity was examined through an exploratory factorial analysis (EFA). After checking for suitability indicators which were optimal, and looking at the sedimentation graph, it was decided that the optimal solution was that of three components. Component 1 was closely related to “Importance of Training for Gender Equality” with nine items; Component 2 with “Institutional Sensitivity on Gender Issues” (five items); and Component 3 with “Awareness of Inequalities” (four items). All these three components contributed to explain 53.66% of the total variance (26.71%, 16.42%, and 10.52%, respectively). To estimate the internal consistency of the 18 items that make up the SSGE, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was calculated, resulting in an alpha of .67 for the entire scale, indicative of a moderate reliability. By sub-scales, reliability coefficients were .88, .75 and .72, respectively. Sensitivity on gender equality Regarding the importance of training on GE, respondents' means ranged between 4.75 (SD = 1.30) and 5.46 (SD = 0.80), between 3.61 (SD = 1.32) and 4.47 (SD = 1.03) in institutional sensitivity on gender issues, and between 1.81 (SD = 1.09) and 2.94 (SD = 1.59) in awareness of inequalities. Taking into account that the midpoint of the scale is 3.50, these data indicated that (a) respondents rated the importance of training on GE as quite important, (b) institutional sensitivity as moderately low, and (c) awareness of inequalities as very low. Examinations of the results by major revealed that respondents’ sensitivity to GE was very similar between kindergarten and elementary student teachers. As a result of the above, it can be said that the SSGE can be used to measure sensitivity to GE, guide interventions to mainstream gender in university teaching and evaluate potential changes after intervention. However, these results should be interpreted with the necessary caution.
Atchison, A. L. (2013). The practical process of gender mainstreaming in the political science curriculum. Politics and Gender, 9(2), 228-235. Benschop, Y., & Verloo, M. (2006). Sisyphus’ sisters: Can gender mainstreaming escape the genderedness of organizations? Journal of Gender Studies, 15(1),19-33. Cassese E. C., Bos A., & Duncan, L. E. (2012). Integrating gender into the political science core curriculum. Political Science and Politics, 45(2), 238–243. Cavaghan, R. (2017). Bridging rhetoric and practice: New perspectives on barriers to gendered change. Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, 38(1), 42-63. European Parliament (2010). Spanish policy on gender equality: Relevant current legislation and policies. Retrieved from http://webs.ucm.es/info/target/Art%20Chs%20EN/EPBriefingNoteSpGenPol_09EN.pdf Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE. Grünberg, L. (2011). From gender studies to gender IN studies and beyond. In L. Grünberg (Ed.), From gender studies to gender IN studies: Case studies on gender-inclusive curriculum in higher education (pp. 7-15). Bucharest: UNESCO. Hafner-Burton, E. M., & Pollack, M.A. (2009). Mainstreaming gender in the European Union. Comparative European Politics, 7(1), 114-138. Lombardo, E., & Mergaert, L. (2013). Gender mainstreaming and resistance to gender training: A framework for studying implementation. Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 21(4), 296-311. Mergaert, L., & Lombardo, E. (2014). Resistance to implementing gender mainstreaming in EU research policy. European Integration Online Papers, 18(1), 1-21. UNESCO (2015). A guide for gender equality in teacher education: Policy and practices. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002316/231646e.pdf UNESCO. (2016a). Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all. Paris: Author. UNESCO. (2016b). Gender review: Creating sustainable futures for all (Global Education Monitoring Report). Paris: Author. United Nations (2015). Millennium development goals and beyond. Retrieved from http://www. un.org/millenniumgoals/gender.shtml. World Education Forum. (2015). Incheon Declaration: Education 2030: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/world-education-forum-2015/incheon-declaration.
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