33 SES 03 A, Gender Inequality in Curriculum and Teaching
Spanish universities are statutorily required to introduce gender equality in teaching content. It is reiterated in legal statutes for almost two decades, according to the political guidelines of European and international organizations. At the same time, the transversal approach towards incorporating equality into the university curricula is considered a criterion for the institutionalization of gender equality policies (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2016; Pastor & Acosta, 2016). All this is driven by the educational benefits that have a direct impact on a more equal society. The feminist perspective invites teachers to carry out a self-reflective exercise and a transforming proposal of their teaching practice in relation to the androcentric production of scientific knowledge, professional aspects of the discipline or sexist language (Donoso, 2018). Regarding students, a greater sensitization and awareness of gender inequalities, a deeper intellectual understanding of reality, changes in personal values, reflections on power structures and an impact on their daily lives have been described (Cuesta & Witt, 2014).
Despite it is explicitly set out in the regulatory framework, it has been shown that the incorporation of the gender perspective in the subjects of the university curricula has been left in the hands of teachers (individual will) and has not had an important counterpart at the curricular level (Donoso & Velasco, 2013). Among the main resistances are the lack of concretion of measures and actions to apply the regulations, traditional androcentric mentality of teachers, gender stereotypes about women in higher education, limited teacher training with regards to gender perspective or lack of networks of good teaching practices (Donoso, et al., 2014; Ion, et al., 2013; Power, et al., 2017).
In this sense, teaching innovation programs have become a strategic element to promote this end. In the context of Spanish universities, the teaching innovation model is vertical (“top-down” approach) (Fidalgo et al., 2019). Each university prepares and coordinates the calls for teaching innovation projects and grants the selected projects. The teachers design and submit teaching innovation projects. If their projects are selected and developed, they obtain institutional recognition. This model has received some criticism. The main criticism is that it is based on provisional, reductionist or pseudo-modern policies, in which the initiatives, experiences and previous teacher training are not considered (Martínez-Rodríguez, 2012). In this regard, the feminist postulates also invite us to study more deeply about the pedagogical practices in relation to the contents and the teaching methodology used (Burke, 2015; Henderson, 2015; Mena, et al., 2019).
This paper discusses whether teaching innovation programs promote gender equality in university teaching. To do this, it was analysed whether gender equality is a priority and institutionalized line in the calls for teaching innovation projects of all Spanish universities during the last four academic years. In this same period of time, the actions and meanings given by the faculty responsible for teaching innovation projects on gender equality at a specific university were studied.
The qualitative research had two phases. In the first phase, an exploration of the teaching innovation programs on gender equality was carried out in the period between the 2016/2017 and 2019/2020 academic years in the 82 Spanish universities (50 public and 33 private). To do this, registration sheets were designed with the aim of collecting the information relation to the calls, modalities and teaching innovation projects on gender equality at the universities. In the second phase, a case study was carried out on the “Projects that promote gender equality”. It is a modality included in Plan for Innovation and Good Teaching Practices at a public university. This modality was created in the 2016/2017 academic year and continues today. For this, a content analysis of the projects reports in this modality was made (identification, team, development context, topic, purpose, content, resources, impacts and proposals for improvement). The data revealed that coordination is assumed mainly by women and there is an unequal distribution by area of knowledge. Subsequently, all projects coordinators (12 women and 7 men) and some members of the Committee for Teacher Training and Innovation (4 men and 3 women) were interviewed. This Committee is responsible for the design and evaluation of the calls. The interviews were carried out by the four researchers with a script organized into three thematic blocks: (1) conceptions about innovation, equality and inclusion, (2) experience in innovation and equality, and (3) evaluation and proposals. The participants signed an informed consent, and the interviews were recorded and literally transcribed. Analytical procedures were performed using ATLAS.ti v8 software and consisted of inductive coding and interpretive categorization. Finally, semantic relationships were established in relation to the research objectives.
The comparative analysis of the data shows how the normative development of equality policies in the Spanish university is at an initial stage. There has been a progressive increase in universities that acquire this commitment, although it is a minority compared to the totality of teaching innovation projects. This confirms the weak institutionalization of gender issues in the universities and in the study plans. Two disparate points of view were uncovered following discourse analysis. On the one hand, the opportunism that means that teachers develop gender projects because they take advantage of the opportunity (the calls) but have a weak or absent reflection on gender. On the other hand, the visibility, which means the recognition of projects that, in most cases, was created in the past and are still being implemented (teachers use the calls to makes their projects visible and promote an institutional culture on a gender perspective). Results suggest a reconsideration of the verticality and content of teaching innovation policies. The vertical model is both an opportunity and a weakness for genuine initiatives to emerge. In relation to content, feminist postulates promote projects which gender is something more than the sum of women, on the contrary, it becomes a political act that puts justice and equity at the centre (Ellis et al., 2019).
Burke, P.J. (2015). Re/imagining higher education pedagogies: gender, emotion and difference. Teaching in Higher Education, 20 (4), 388-401. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2015.1020782 Cuesta, M., & Witt, A.K. (2014). How Gender Conscious Pedagogy in Higher Education Can Stimulate Actions for Social Justice in Society. Social Inclusion, 2 (1), 12-23. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/si.v2i1.30 Donoso, T. (2018). Perspectiva de género en la Universidad como motor de innovación. In A. Rebollo, E. Ruiz y L. Vega, La Universidad en clave de género (pp. 23-48). Ediciones Octaedro. Donoso, T. & Velasco, A. (2013). ¿Por qué una propuesta de formación en perspectiva de género en el ámbito universitario? Profesorado: Revista de currículum y formación del profesorado, 17 (1), 71-88. Donoso, T., Montané, A. & Pessoa, M.E. (2014). Género y calidad en Educación Superior. Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 17 (3), 157-171. https://doi.org/10.6018/reifop.17.3.204121 Ellis, V., Souto-Manning, M., & Turvey, K. (2019). Innovation in teacher education: towards a critical re-examination. Journal of Education for Teaching, 45(1), 2-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2019.1550602 European Institute for Gender Equality. (2016). Integrating gender equality into academia and research organisations. Analytical paper. Vilnius: European Institute for Gender Equality. Fidalgo, A., Sein-Echaluce, M.L., García, J.M., y Balbín, A.M. (2019). Método para diseñar buenas prácticas de innovación educativa docente: percepción del profesorado. In M. L. Sein-Echaluce, Á. Fidalgo, y F. J. García (Eds.), Actas del V Congreso Internacional sobre Aprendizaje, Innovación y Competitividad (pp. 623-628). Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Zaragoza. Henderson, E.F. (2015). Gender Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning and Tracing Gender in Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan. Ion, G., Durán-Bellonch, M.M. & Bernabeu, M.D. (2012). El profesorado y su percepción sobre la igualdad de género en la universidad. Revista Complutense de Educación, 24 (1), 123-140. https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_RCED.2013.v24.n1.41194 Martínez Rodríguez, J.B. (2012). Introducción. En J.B. Martínez Rodríguez (Coord.), Innovación en la universidad. Prácticas, políticas y retóricas (pp. 19-28). Graó. Mena, M., Sáez, A., Leal, A. & Pujal, M. (2019). Aportaciones de las pedagogías de género a la calidad de la docencia universitaria. Educar, 55 (2), 579-596. https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/educar.999 Pastor, I. y Acosta, A. (2016). La institucionalización de las políticas de igualdad de género en la Universidad española. Avances y retos. Investigaciones Feministas, 7 (2), 247-271. https://doi.org/10.5209/INFE.52966 Power, S., Ah-King, M. & Hussénius, A. (2017). ‘Are we to become a gender university?’ Facets of resistance to a gender equality project. Gender Work and Organization, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12204
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