The Community of Practice in Gender and Education of KIX LAC, held its fourth working session and webinar seminar “Pedagogies for an education with a gender equality perspective”, to learn about the academic perspective on the role of teachers in the development of these pedagogies.
Fernanda del Pozo and Maciel Morales Aceitón, Researchers at KIX LAC and organizers of the community, welcomed the attendees from various countries in Central America and the Caribbean and expressed the importance of discussing the reproduction of sexism in education systems and the challenges for addressing culturally ingrained practices from the teaching role. Along with this, they stressed the importance of having collective discussion spaces where experiences and reflections on the subject can be shared from different territories.
Next, Dr Andrea Lira, an academic from the Universidad de Magallanes (Chile), gave the presentation “Initial Conversations and Conceptual Distinctions of Feminism in Education”, reflecting on how we currently think about gender and the resistance that is generated when these conceptions are questioned: “Our culture is based on a patriarchal structure that constructs and reproduces gender inequalities in all spheres, but, especially the school, becomes a key place for the reproduction and teaching of the same inequalities.”
She also introduced the term sexist education, which highlights the idea of hegemonic masculinity that reproduces patriarchy, understood as a system of domination, where one group of humanity (the masculine) is attributed characteristics of superiority over another group (the feminine), thus justifying the hierarchy of one group over the other. In the educational sphere, this hegemonic masculinity homologates biological sex (whether one is male or female) to gender, without taking into account the true identity of the individual and forcing him or her to place him or herself in one of these two categories, limiting his or her possibilities for development and establishing the norms of what he or she can or cannot do just because he or she is a man or a woman.
Next, Dr Charmaine Bissessar, professor at the University of Guyana, spoke about the gender perspective in public education, where she theorized that inequality is produced because the educational systems remain with the patriarchal ideology of domination and in many cases, male teachers through their practices stimulate it so that there is no true equality within the classroom. She also highlighted the role of the school as a place that dictates norms for socialization and, in most countries, it reproduces the existing norms of inequality between boys and girls. For this reason, raising teachers’ awareness of the importance of applying gender equality mechanisms in their classrooms is necessary for educational transformation.
Finally, Dr Bissessar offered some recommendations for achieving gender equity in the teaching process:
- Train managers and administrators in the education sector on issues related to gender equality.
- Train teachers in inclusive practices and pedagogies to eliminate discrimination based on race, sexual identity or socioeconomic conditions of students.
- Monitor teacher interaction with students to ensure equitable treatment of all.
- Create and implement policies that encourage gender equality and build high self-esteem in boys and girls.
At the close of the meeting, community participants shared particular experiences in schools in Mexico and El Salvador, and were invited to participate in the workshop after the meeting to deepen the role of teacher training for a gender equity pedagogy, discussing: In what areas is the reproduction of sexism in education systems observed; How can this situation be changed from the teaching role; and How can this situation be changed from the teaching role?.
The fifth session of the Community of Practice will be held in February.
To participate in the community of practice you can write to [email protected]