teachers pupils and parents all of whom have their own interpretations of what

Teachers pupils and parents all of whom have their

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teachers, pupils, and parents, all of whom ‘have their own interpretations of what gender is or should be, what gender equity means, what the intention of law “really” is, how serious they must take it, what effects it will or should have on school programs and practices.’(Kenway et al., 1998:9), and yet introduce some modifications to policy through their interpretation (Stromquist, 1997). That is, policy is regularly re-inscribed as it is woven into school (Kenway et al., 1998). The complexities of policy leads to what Kenway et al. (1998) name ‘the mysterious gap’ between policy and practice. There is seldom a perfect match between policy prescriptions and educational practices; “there was almost a ‘mysterious gap’ between the hopes represented in such theories, policies and suggestions for practices and what happened in schools” (ibid.: 200). Yet what and where is the gap? How has it been formulated? Why is the gap mysterious? Kenway does not espouse further, neither does current literature investigate into this gap. Neither am I able to deal with in this paper. Nonetheless, I intend to demonstrate educators’ (including headteachers, 5 Drawing on Harman (1984), Stromquist points out a four-stage process of educational policies— beginning with problem identification, and moving into policy formulation and authorization, implementation and termination or change. 6 For instance, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in all federally aided education programmes, and the Women’s Educational Equity Act (WEEA) of 1977, which provides grants to programmes that will reduce gender stereotyping. 7 Other possibilities consist of the immutable nature of women and men, the nature and scope of gender-relevant policies and power and resistance. 3
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administrators and teachers) interpretations of gender equality, which may have implications for policy. All in all, my research question in this paper is: what are educators’ interpretations and re-inscriptions of gender equality? What are underlying premises behind these interpretations? Research Methodology A gender perspective is absent from the mainstream policy analysis although there has been a growing recognition of the need for a feminist theory of the state since the 1980s (Kenway, 1990; Marshall, 1997). The earlier feminist work on educational policy analysis, nonetheless, according to Kenway (ibid.) was rather ahistorical and functionalist in their reasoning (i.e. showing how the state constantly functions in the interests of patriarchy and, in some cases, capitalism). As Harding (1987) claims, the feminist perspective, the review of historical context and a critical perspective of sociology provide a relatively complete picture. Such feminists as Arnot, Marshall, Blackmore and Kenway have strived to build the gap by putting gender in the center to go deeper into gender relations in policy making, process and consequences. A similarity between them is a postmodernist or post-structuralist bent without denying the systematic power of the state and society. They all look at gender identities,
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  • Spring '14
  • Gender Equity Education

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