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Gender as an Entry Point for Addressing Social Exclusion and Multiple Disparities in Education

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 21:18 authored by Mairead DunneMairead Dunne
This paper has offered a critical reflexive engagement in the field of gender, education and development. In exploring the circumscribing conceptual and methodological issues it has sought to engage with knowledge practices that link what we might know and assume about gender to wider axes of inequality. To this extent the discussion used the case of gender as an example to illustrate the possibilities and difficulties of for an understanding multiple disparities. A central point in the paper concerns knowledge practices, that is, the relationship between the way we produce knowledge and our conceptual formations. The way we research has a bearing on what we might find out and subsequently on what we might further research, in a cyclical way. As such, the discussion in this paper focussed on the dominant development discourses to explore the methodological and theoretical genesis of what we know about gender. This is used to describe how we have arrived at what appears to be theoretical and methodological stalemate. The implications are for what we already know, what we might want to know next and how this informs policy and intervention. Throughout this paper, the limitations and opportunities for understanding gender have been connected to the challenges for understanding multiple disparities that need to be addressed if we are to achieve EFA goals and global human rights to education. Following a brief review of statistical and theoretical trends in the field of gender, education and development the main argument is that the dominant development focus on quantification and outcomes has (re) produced both an unbalanced methodological approach and unreconstructed assumptions about gender and education. The resultant and pervasive neobiological theories of gender are simplistic and stand in contradiction to current theories of social constructionism. Three main themes, Identities, Processes and Methodologies are used to explore ways in which we might develop more sociologically informed knowledge to first understand and then engage with the contextual specificities of gender disparities and link these to wider forms of social exclusion.


Publication status

  • Published


UNGEI Global Advisory Committee



Department affiliated with

  • Education Publications

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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