Equality ensures that every student has equal access to a high-quality education regardless of their social background. It also ensures that all students are accountable to the same standards and objectives without taking into account their circumstances, abilities, or experiences. However, in inequality, there may be an unequal distribution of the same. Gender is one of the most common ways of organizing the social life of human beings. Parents assume boys and girls to be different ever since infancy. In the 1970s, the feminists viewed can the notion of gender as a ‘construct’.
Sylvia Walby (1990) categorized gendered subjectivity into three broad approaches – socialization theory, neo-Freudian psychoanalytic theory, and discourse analysis. The Socialization theory argues that masculine and feminine identities result from a process of socialization that begins in childhood. In Walby’s opinion,
“This approach is severely limited by its inability to realize that gendered culture does not inhabit the specialized places of media, family or education, but is rather constructed in all areas of social life.”
The Psychoanalytic theory argues that unseen processes are entrenched in the psyche of individuals passed from one generation to another. This is what leads to gendered identities. Walby adds that gendered subjectivity exists everywhere.
Gender Issues Existing in the Curriculum
Some gender issues existing in the curriculum are as follows:
Use of ‘He’
Every time there is a sentence in a book whose gender is unspecified, the word normally used is ‘he’ rather than she. Even in the word ‘mankind’, it is the man who is involved instead of labeling it as ‘humankind’. Therefore, the notion that man should come first is still prevalent.
Girls are often encouraged to play sports like badminton or volleyball while boys are encouraged to play football, cricket, or basketball so that they can prepare for their roles in adulthood.
Preference for School subjects
Gender construct exists in school subjects too where boys are thought to be more capable of studying science subjects related to technology while girls are seen to be more apt for arts.
According to social constructs, masculine behavior is commonly characterized by being assertive, action-oriented, and lively, whereas feminine behavior is often characterized by being cooperative, polite, passive, and gentle.
For a long time, men and women have been differentiated by their preferred colors. Girls are generally believed to like pink and boys are generally believed to like blue. This belief is ingrained in them since childhood.
Gender can be regarded as a socially constructed concept used to differentiate men and women and assign them different roles and responsibilities, and so on. Social construction refers to the knowledge created and assumed by social institutions rather than possessing any inherent truth on their own.