Feminism and Education Politics: No Longer for Women Only

Authored by: Catherine Marshall , Lois André-Bechely

Handbook of Education Politics and Policy

Print publication date:  June  2008
Online publication date:  June  2008

Print ISBN: 9780805861112
eBook ISBN: 9780203887875
Adobe ISBN: 9781135595586


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This is the chapter that your mother, your sister, your daughter, and your promising women students want you to read. They may or may not be consciously aware of the ways that education politics shapes the life chances of boys and girls, of women and men; yet we know that certainly it has. It had to. Power, politics, and policy have a profound impact on the ways that educational opportunity is envisioned, produced, and distributed to the children and youth that pass through our system of schooling. Histories of education teach us that our early systems of public education were established by men, mostly for boys (Spring, 2006; Tyack, 1974; Tyack & Cuban, 1995). Histories of the family teach us that as western nations developed, it was women, mothers, who assumed household roles constructed around a gendered division of labor that was designed, in part, to support the work of educational institutions in the home (Biklen, 1995; Cutler, 2000; Griffith & Smith, 2004). Patriarchy was the foundation for the politics, policies, and goals of schooling, underwriting the long-observed practice of educating girls differently from boys. So feminism challenges the power of patriarchy and feminist and critical scholars challenge the politics and policies that patriarchy supports.

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