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10th Biennial Conference of the Gender and Education Association The Naturalisation of Everyday Sexism and Violence Relaunch of the Paulo Freire Institute-UK Boys and Girls Speak Out on Sexism and Sexual Harassment
10th Biennial Conference of the Gender and Education Association

10th Biennial Conference of the Gender and Education Association

Feminisms, Power and Pedagogy: 10th Biennial Conference of the Gender and Education Association University of Roehampton 24-26 June 2015 The tenth international biennial conference of the Gender and Education Association, Feminisms, Power and Pedagogy, will be hosted by the School of Education, the Centre for Educational Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy (CEREPP) and the Paulo Freire Institute (PFI) [...]

The Naturalisation of Everyday Sexism and Violence

The Naturalisation of Everyday Sexism and Violence

By Nancy Lombard, Glasgow Caledonian University   The FRA study from the EU agency for Fundamental Rights released last Thursday did the usual rounds with the same old figures: 1 in three women have experienced abuse in their lifetime, 1 in 10 within the last 12 months.  We know this; we can recite these figures off by [...]

Relaunch of the Paulo Freire Institute-UK

Relaunch of the Paulo Freire Institute-UK

By Penny Jane Burke, University of Roehampton.   The Paulo Freire Institute-UK (PFI-UK) has now been relaunched at the University of Roehampton as an interdisciplinary research centre, with particular interest in feminist engagements with Freirean perspectives, methodologies and pedagogies. The PFI-UK is part of a large, international network of Paulo Freire Institutes worldwide, with its closest affiliation [...]

Boys and Girls Speak Out on Sexism and Sexual Harassment

Boys and Girls Speak Out on Sexism and Sexual Harassment

A report by Josie Austin and Helen Sivey of Cardiff University on the launch of Professor Emma Renold’s report on young people’s gender and sexual cultures for the National Assembly for Wales.   A dozen young people strode confidently past us into the Welsh Assembly Pierhead’s grand hall as we hovered around the imposing entrance. Like us, they [...]

Film and learning how to be a girl

By Dr. Kristina Gottschall, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst NSW Australia

Governments, policy-makers, teachers, education researchers – we all think we know what teaching and learning or ‘pedagogy’ is all about. Indeed, we set our expectations, base our actions, and stake our reputations on knowing all the ins and outs of pedagogy and how we make it work most effectively. Sometimes it’s even taken as a given in regard to how it’s done, what are its aims and how it is achieved. In recent times, pedagogy seems to be increasingly talked about as if it is quantifiable, deliverable and a largely predictable process.

In my research inspired by feminist and post-structural thinking, what I’ve come to realise is that pedagogy cannot be quantified and is far from predictable. Knowledge cannot simply be transferred. In many respects, teaching and learning – how it works – or how it doesn’t work, is a mystery and we are still finding new ways to articulate the challenges it poses.

As a fluid, multi-directional and multi-dimensional process, pedagogy is best understood as a complex meaning-making process between the ‘teacher’ and the ‘learner’. The teacher doesn’t cause learning, rather, they are only one part of the context in which learning may occur. Teaching and learning is complex! It’s profoundly relational and contextual, ideally a consciousness-changing experience that ‘…takes place in the interaction of three agencies —teacher, the learner and the knowledge they together produce’ (Lusted 1986, 3; Ellsworth 1997, 2005). It’s all about producing knowledge in interactive, meaningful and productive ways, as opposed to ‘merely a transmissive act’ (Lather 1991, 15). What works in one place, may not work in another. What works for some students, might spectacularly fail others. This is the nature of teaching and learning – with all its frustrations, difficulties, questionings, silences, diversities and demands.

Primarily, I am interested in how popular culture and popular films might work as pedagogy. All too often film critics and scholars are quick to dismiss films as ‘sexist’ or ‘racist’ or ‘too violent’. The moral panics around the effects on spectators, and particularly children, seen as being more ‘vulnerable’ or susceptible, are par for the course. For me, though, such critiques and concerns are only the beginning of the analysis not the end. What makes a film sexist or racist and to who, and under what cultural and social conditions? How is the film, as a text, designed in such a way so that spectators come to understand key things about gender and race, etc?

In my recent article ‘From the frozen wilderness to the moody sea: Rural space, girlhood and popular pedagogy’ published in Gender & Education (Volume 26, Issue 5), I focus on how a small body of films might potentially work as vehicles for teaching and learning about youth, gender and space. The films include four key Australian ‘coming of age’ films about girls growing up in rural or rural coastal locales: Peaches set in a sleepy town on the banks of the Murray River, Somersault set in the frozen wilderness of Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains, Caterpillar Wish set in a South Australian coastal town full of secrets and lies, and in Indigenous film maker Ivan Sen’s Beneath Clouds, the story of two Indigenous youths on a road trip through rural New South Wales.

In the article, I argue that representations of the ‘rural’ shape what is possible in the making of ‘girlhood’. Ideas of the rural are both enabling and constraining for the girl subject of these films, and potentially more broadly. I explore how popular film might use representations of the rural to educate spectators about girls as ‘successful’, ‘in crisis’ and/or as girls asserting ‘girlpower’. I highlight various filmic, narrative and affective techniques that encourage learning in these terms. For instance, I think about how spectators are invited to know the protagonists of these films as psycho-sexual, moral, relational and spatial subjects, where various techniques such as the sound and music score and familiar tropes like staring off into space, high drama and confessional scenes and ripples of madness, work together to engage us in key ways around girlhood. Not every spectator will respond in the same way to these images because pedagogy is not a simple act of transmission, and people and contexts are diverse. Likewise, key design features do not determine what can be learned in a predictable way, but they do constrain what can be known. The girl in a rural place is made intelligible through common significations that we see repeated time and again.

So in engagement with these films, I explore how we might potentially learn how ideal youthful feminine subjectivity ‘should’ potentially be done, how it is done in the rural space, and what is at stake in forming or not forming oneself as a specific subject in specific ways.

It is this in-between space between the text and the spectator (or the ‘teacher’ and the ‘learner’), and the knowledge they together produce that will continue to frame my research and my own teaching as I question just what is pedagogy, can we ever fully know how it works and what might this mean for our practice?

Dr. Kristina Gottschall is a lecturer in Indigenous Studies for the Centre for Indigenous Studies at Charles Sturt University, joining the centre in 2014. Graduating from her Doctor of Philosophy in Education 2011, she is an early-career scholar researching across the areas of popular and public pedagogies, popular film culture, post-structural theories, social semiotics, subjectivities, gender, sexuality, Indigeneity and discourses about youth-hood. She is also mad for HBO TV series, playing the ukulele, fancy dress parties, salsa with her special gentleman friend, walking her hyper Jack Russell and Terrier-X dogs, and reading a good book in bed with a glass of red.

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Call for Abstracts for a Special Issue of Gender and Education

Special Issue Guest Editors: Sharon Todd, Rachel Jones and Aislinn O’Donnell

Shifting Education’s Philosophical Imaginaries: Relations, Affects, Bodies, Materialities

As Michèle Le Doeuff pointed out in her classic feminist work, The Philosophical Imaginary, images function in philosophical writing to enact certain political possibilities and limitations. Drawing on the importance of the imaginary, this special issue of Gender and Education examines the ways in which it operates to undergird recent feminist perspectives in both philosophy and education. As the pages in Gender and Education reveal, feminist educational concerns have generally focused on images of relationality, sex/gender differences and queer subjectivities and have discussed how such images reframe our attention to educational theory and practice. On the philosophical side, we are witnessing feminism’s recent turns to materialism, embodiment and affect, along with a renewed engagement with phenomenology and a pronounced shift away from the images of social construction that had informed much feminist work since the 1970s.

In this special issue, we are interested in how these philosophical developments might inform a re-imagining of the usual feminist educational concerns, and how educational imaginaries might open up a different set of questions for contemporary feminist philosophies. We are not concerned with how to ‘import’ new philosophical ideas into educational theory and practice, nor with simply reading such ideas as something ‘external’ to the work we do in education. Rather, our aim is to open up a conversation between educational theory and this new body of feminist philosophical scholarship in a manner that reveals their co-implication, particularly when it comes to conceiving of how to theorise what is done in the name of education, and what limits and transformative possibilities lie within the educational project.

Our focus on ‘relations, affects, bodies, materialities’ reflects a number of recent turns in feminist thought, which are not self-contained but spill over into each other, creating a matrix of interlinking ideas, concepts, and positions. These include:

  • the ‘new materialisms’ (aligned with thinkers such as Alaimo, Barad, Braidotti, Coole, Colebrook, Grosz, and Kirby), which re-inflect long-standing feminist concerns with bodies and materiality via a critique of social constructionism and a re-appraisal of matter, nature, agency and the (post)human
  • the turn to affect theory (see especially Ahmed, Gregg and Seidworth), which foregrounds the social, cultural and political efficacy of emotions, feelings and other affective states
  • the new thoughts on relationality and embodiment arising from feminist and queer phenomenologies (Ahmed, Heinemaa, Weiss) and engagements with neuroscience (Pitts-Taylor, Wilson)
  • the re-implication of feminist and queer theory by thinkers such as Ahmed, Colebrook and Huffer; and the deployment of feminist/queer theories of bodies, sexuality and desire by transnational feminists to generate critical perspectives on capitalism, neoliberalism, and feminism itself (Alexander, Grewal, Puar).

We are seeking work that draws on any of the above approaches or thinkers (or any combination thereof) to re-interrogate the role of relations, affects, bodies and/or materialities in a specifically educational context (broadly understood). In keeping with our focus on shifting education’s philosophical imaginaries, we are particularly interested in papers that: contest or transform dominant educational imaginaries; show how pedagogical contexts pose generative questions to new feminist approaches; and explore how the pedagogical and philosophical concerns outlined above are encountered outside the Anglo/American/European world.

We invite substantial, 1000 word abstracts that engage with the above concerns. Authors may wish to address one or more of the following specific questions: 

  • How do new directions in feminist and queer thought transform the images of both education and philosophy implicit in philosophy of education?
  • How do recent philosophical emphases on bodies, affect, materialities and relationality displace the philosophical imaginary inherited from western modernity and open up new pedagogical and philosophical imaginaries?
  • What is involved in re-imagining educational practices through a relational, bodily, materialist, and/or affective lens? How might we rethink and re-theorise the role of bodies and materialities (human and non-human) in education?
  • How do feminist concerns with relationality, bodies, sexual/gender difference and queer/sexed subjectivities transform both images of education and understandings of what is involved in a philosophical approach to pedagogy, curriculum and educational policy?
  • How might feminist pedagogies pose new questions to feminist materialist approaches?
  • How does the use of feminist/queer theories of bodies, affect, sexuality and desire by transnational feminists contest, de-centre or provide alternatives to the theoretical biases of the global North? What are the implications of this for the re-imag(in)ing of education, philosophy, and philosophy of education?
  • What difference does it make to imagine what we are doing when we philosophise about education as ‘critical’, ‘engaged’, ‘ecological’, ‘reparative’, ‘diffractive’, etc.?

This special issue of Gender and Education is edited by Sharon Todd (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) Rachel Jones (George Mason University, US) and Aislinn O’Donnell (University of Limerick).

Deadline dates

If you would like to contribute, please email a 500 word abstract for the attention of the journal’s Editorial Manager, Helen Rowlands to genderandeducation@outlook.com by 1 December 2014.

Invitations to submit full papers will be sent to authors in mid December 2014; papers are to be submitted by 9 February 2015. Peer-reviewing will be completed and final editorial decisions reached by August 2015 . It is anticipated that this Special Issue will be published as Gender and Education Vol. 27. 6, which will be in print in October 2015.

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Policy Report for GEA, June 2014


Miriam E. David


Feminist scholarship, feminist knowledge and feminist pedagogies are all celebrated in this book and I hope to tempt you to read the book and engage with the arguments by offering you some of the examples of how these have developed in higher education over the last 50 years. I make a plea for more careful attention to education and how the processes of knowledge-making influence (and are influenced by) gender and sexual relations and how we need to maintain our vigilance in these times of neo-liberal austerity and campaign for transformations against gender and sexual violence in education and the wider society.

My main aim has been to demonstrate how feminism has become an educational as well as political project and, in particular, the robust and positive impacts that feminism has had on higher education. I also look at the ways in which issues around gender equality in education have come onto the agendas of higher education and wider socio-economic and political systems, and what both the opportunities and obstacles to further gender equality in higher education are. How can we create a feminist-friendly future? How do we transform current business and managerial approaches to higher education and neo-liberal tendencies to ensure that feminist knowledge and feminist pedagogies are a continuing source of transformative potential? What kinds of policy changes do we want to advocate?

Using feminist methods of biography, life stories and narratives, I set out to develop a life history and collective biography of feminist activism in academe. Being totally passionate and committed to feminism, I sought out many social networks in higher education across the generations. So this is a partial study in every sense: partial to feminism and partial in that it is about a small group of pioneering pedagogues in academe. I drew on many networks such as the Bristol Women’s Studies Group (BWSG) in which I was involved in the 1970s, the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (FWSA), the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE), sociology of education, linked through the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and especially the Gender and Education Association (GEA) in which I had been involved since its beginnings. I also reached out to international feminist educators and talked to over 100 activist academics in humanities and social sciences, illustrative of the changing forms of global academe in changing socio-economic contexts.

I identified three generations or cohorts of feminists to reveal what a life-changing experience feminism has been and how important education, especially higher education, has been to this. While the three generations have different biographies, in that increasing numbers are ‘first-in-the-family’ (and not only from the working classes) to go to university, all talk with passion about how feminism transformed their lives in both in the family and through university. Through careful attention to the ways feminism has transformed academic feminists’ lives, across three generations of women entering higher education, the importance of creating feminist scholarship and developing feminist knowledge is illustrated. Not all agree that they are ‘second-wave feminists’, nevertheless all feel that they are part of a ‘new wave’, whether wave refers to air, hair, or sea. I discuss critiques of the wave analogy.

Most of the oldest cohort, women born before or in the shadows of the Second World War tended to sign up more to being second wave when ‘the second wave broke on the shores of academe’, to use Lorna Marsden’s lovely phrase; whilst the second cohort (those born in the 1950s and early 60s) were part of ‘the ripple effects of second wave moving into academe’ and saw themselves as ‘riding the waves’; the third cohort (those born from 1965 up to 1980) were ‘on the crest of the wave of academic feminism’ with all the contradictions of being in the neo-liberal global academy today.

Examples of how feminism is central to these feminist activists’ identity include:

  • ‘It changed my life’
  • ‘Feminism has been my life project’
  • ‘My entire life has been shaped by feminism…at university…it was the beginning of the women’s movement…we women were a small minority’…
  • As a scholar I write from a feminist perspective…
  • I began to self-identify as a feminist when I was a graduate student in 1970…Feminism is woven through every fibre of my being…My family were not impressed…

There are differences across the generations in the personal and political influences on becoming feminists. An example from the first cohort is that feminism came after being a student and was initially about political action rather than university influences:

‘I went to university in London …in the late 1960s…I became a feminist when I went to do an MA at Louisiana State University from 1969 to 1971. I read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and immediately joined the National Organisation of Women (NOW) and consciousness-raising and campaign groups…I still am a feminist but think that things have got more rather than less difficult in academe…’

Women in the second cohort tended to struggle with feminism as part of their intellectual identity and through being in the academy:

‘Feminism has been absolutely central to my life. It allowed me to gradually gain a perspective on Catholicism that eventually allowed me to leave the established church. For a long time I felt that the intellectual, theological knowledge was battling with my intellectual feminism. I would say that through the twists and turns of my life the one intellectual endeavour that I have never doubted is my feminism. I passionately believe in a person’s right to equality and especially to have freedom over their bodies. I would say that I still teach from a feminist perspective…and it informs my personal life profoundly…’

Women in the third cohort tended to learn their feminism as undergraduates and developed this through good inclusive pedagogical experiences. This is the case for both mature students and for those women attending elite universities at the traditional age for undergraduates:

‘I became a feminist during university (as a mature student at Middlesex after an Access to HE course) mainly through my own reading…good experiences taught me about inclusive pedagogies. Feminism has been crucial to my learning – indirectly and explicitly-eg when I was in a women’s aid refuge I first explicitly encountered feminism and this was a life saver in terms of understanding and making sense of my traumatic experiences of domestic violence-and also learning about my rights and my position as a woman- this was strengthened at university when I started to read feminist theories for my coursework-theory has been more directly influential to me than activism…’

And contrast with:

‘I became a feminist at university. I went to an all girls’ school and moved to a mixed environment at Cambridge. In my college I was the only girl of the 14 doing Maths in my year. Some other students and tutors had sexist attitudes. I guess this is what provoked the move…the influence has been huge-most obviously in my work but also in how I dress, what I eat, my friendships…I do not do much feminist activism…more urgent is peace but feminism in daily life eg teaching…women’s studies came gradually…’

Altogether, feminism has enabled them to become the passionate teachers in global academe, and continues to help them to struggle against the changing and constraining conditions of the neoliberal academy. Feminism helps to resist the more overt misogyny that now pervades global academe, despite changes toward gender equality in numbers of undergraduate students. I discuss how feminists’ struggles achieved gender equality in education on the international public policy agenda but how the notion of gender equity has now been incorporated into neo-liberalism and managerialism and lost its critical and radical edge.

Gender equality in higher education amongst undergraduate students has become a numbers game and ‘metrics mask misogyny’. Gender equality amongst academics globally as well as nationally remains a chimera, as the EU’s nicely named She Figures illustrate. We need to transform ‘the rules of the game’ in higher education to move beyond continuing masculine domination of leadership and management in global higher education. We also need to transform education more generally to raise more respectful and inclusive men and women and combat increasing sexual and gender violence: the so-called lad culture of higher education today. Raising questions about what the implications for a feminist-friendly future the changes in the socio-political and economic contexts have been, I argue for policy and practice changes in universities and wider systems of schooling today.

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ESRC Seminar Series: “Researching Girls and Sexuality: Affect, the digital and the body”


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ESRC-funded workshop: ‘Academia and Gender: Inducing cultural change to plug the ‘leaky pipeline’

The University of Warwick is organising an ESRC-funded workshop “Academia and Gender: Inducing cultural change to plug the ‘leaky pipeline’ workshop” at the Royal Society on the 5th-6th of June. This event will bring together academics in different disciplines, gender experts, policy makers and higher education administrators and aims at concrete actions and measures of success in the context of Academia, Gender and Culture change. For more information please click on the following link: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/pioneers/events/inducingculturalchange/programme/.

If you would like to join us, please register (by Tuesday 27th May 2014) at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/pioneers/events/inducingculturalchange/registration/

Please note that places are limited and will be offered on a first come first serve basis. For more information about the event, please contact Dr. Charikleia Tzanakou at: Charikleia.Tzanakou@warwick.ac.uk


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Educating young people about sex: Addressing issues of gender, sexuality and diversity, 11-13 April, 2014, Brno, Czech Republic

The international conference, Educating young people about sex: addressing issues of gender, sexuality and diversity takes place on 11-13 April in Brno, Czech Republic. The conference is part-funded by the GEA and is jointly organised by Vanita Sundaram (University of York), Lucie Jarkovska (Masaryk University) and Analia Meo (University of Buenos Aires) and aims to bring together scholars, activists and practitioners from a range of contexts to discuss key issues around sexuality, education and gender. Delegates will attend from Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the UK among other countries.

The conference keynote speakers are Dagmar Herzog, Claire Maxwell and Deborah Youdell who will be talking about topics as fascinating and diverse as historical and national reflections on child sexual abuse cases, the need to foreground gender in sexuality and relationships education, and the politics of sex education. Three of the conference delegates will write blogs about their experiences of the event and we look forward to hearing their reflections on the possibilities for sex and relationships education.

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New Book Series Welcoming Proposals on Gender and Education

New Book Series Welcoming Proposals on Gender and Education

The new Gender & Education Series, edited by Yvette Taylor, provides a comprehensive space for an increasingly diverse and complex area of interdisciplinary social science research. As the field of women and gender studies is rapidly developing and becoming ‘internationalised’ – as with traditional social science disciplines of e.g. sociology, educational studies, social geography etc. – there is greater need for a dynamic, global Series that plots emerging definitions and debates, and monitors critical complexities of gender and education. These debates are captured within this Series, representing new feminist activisms and voices, emergent in contested educational contexts.

The Series will combine renewed and revitalized feminist research methods and theories with emergent and salient public and policy issues. These include pre, compulsory, and post-compulsory education, ‘early years’ and ‘life long’ education; educational (dis)engagements of pupils, students and staff; trajectories and intersectional inequalities incl. race, class, sexuality, age, disability; policy and practice across educational landscapes; diversity and difference, including institutional (schools, colleges, universities), locational and embodied (in ‘teacher’-‘learner’ positions); varied global activism in and beyond the classroom and the ‘public university’;  educational technologies and transitions and the relevance of (in)formal educational settings; emergent educational mainstreams and margins. In operating a critical approach to ‘gender and education’, the Series recognizes the importance of probing beyond the boundaries of specific territorial-legislative domains in order to develop a more international, intersectional focus. In addressing varied conceptual and methodological questions, the Series combines an intersectional focus on competing – and sometimes colliding – strands of educational provisioning, equality and ‘diversity’, as well as providing insightful reflections of the continuing critical shift of gender and feminism within (and beyond) the academy.

The Series remit is deliberately broad and responds to many inequalities and key, international legislative changes – as well as how these are taken up in practice. It will draw on new empirical research, and aims to make comparative analysis across time and place; methodological questions regarding fostering educational equality and inclusion; re-configured and re-emerging inequalities and their social-spatial dimensions; difference and diversity within communities and institutions; and questions of recognition and redistribution. It will have a particular focus on developing an extended theoretical and methodological conceptualisation, which incorporate the political, policy, social, economic, and cultural aspects of gender and education. Early titles include Michael Ward’s, Working-Class Masculinities, Education and Post-Industrialization

For more information about the Series contact Yvette Taylor: taylory@lsbu.ac.uk

palgrave.com/education  @PalgraveEducate

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Gender and Education Biennial Interim Conference 9-11th December 2014

Gender and Education in the Asia Pacific: Possibilities and provocations

We would like to invite you to the Gender and Education Association Biennial Interim Conference, which is being held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), University of Melbourne.

The conference themes address the knowledge and politics of place and speak to a wide range of concerns and settings, and is not limited to specific regions or countries. The questions raised by such a focus are prompted by, but not restricted to, the complexities of Australia’s geopolitical location in the Asia-Pacific region, its history as both colonised and coloniser, and its current position as part of the ‘global north and the global south’.

We welcome abstract submissions for individual papers, symposia as well as ‘non traditional’ presentations such as performance pieces, poetry and pecha kucha: http://www.pechakucha.org/

For more details including submission please visit the conference website:


e-mail enquiries: gea2014@gmail.com

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The Naturalisation of Everyday Sexism and Violence

By Nancy Lombard, Glasgow Caledonian University


The FRA study from the EU agency for Fundamental Rights released last Thursday did the usual rounds with the same old figures: 1 in three women have experienced abuse in their lifetime, 1 in 10 within the last 12 months.  We know this; we can recite these figures off by heart. The report is simply more evidence of the pervasive extent of women’s experiences of violence that is so engrained in our societies.

Liz Kelly once said that the continued recognition of the magnitude of violence against women results in further normalisation rather than leading to resistance.  We know globally, nationally and locally men’s violence against women is an endemic social problem and an enduring human rights issue within all societies and cultures (Amnesty International, 2004; Bond and Philips, 2000). The prolific extent of male violence against women is confirmed by official data, reproduced worldwide, year after year.

I have been a volunteer, activist and researcher in the field of violence against women since I was 18. My most recent research looked at what primary school children think about men’s violence against women. When I was writing up the research I reflected upon what sociologist Ann Oakley calls my autobiographical path, thinking about why I became interested in this field.

Often women become involved in the area of working against men’s violence because of direct experience but I had always assumed that I was not one of them, as I didn’t have any personal history. However when I sat down and reflected I was shocked, not only by the list of abuses I had experienced, but by my normalisation and minimisation of them – and how I still remained affected by them. Kelly (1988: 23) claims the experience and /or naming of violence is not always an immediate or present one, rather it can be ‘experienced by the woman or girl at the time or later, as a threat, invasion or assault’. My own recalled experiences of abuse included: physical abuse, experiences of coerced sex, flashing and indecent exposure, sexual assaults, physical assaults, verbal sexual abuse. Being aware of my own normalisation of personal experiences of violence made me acutely sensitive to the young people’s narratives of their own experiences and conceptualisations of men’s violence against women.

When I spoke to boys and girls aged 11 and 12 I asked them about what they understood violence was, about why it happened and why. I also spoke to the young people about their own lives, their friendships, their experiences. For the majority of young people violence was something that happened in a public place, between adult men who were physically fighting. Crucially there were visible injuries and official intervention and consequence. That is the men’s behaviour was stopped, they were told they were wrong and suffered consequence (such as jail). This same sequence was replicated at school. Boys would physically fight in public and be told by the teachers or playground assistants that their behaviour was wrong and they were chastised for it.

But that didn’t happen for the girls. Girls told me about of a multitude of experiences; of being pushed, shoved, kicked, followed, called sexualised names from their male peers. These examples did not fit the standardised constellation structure of ‘real’ violence: age (adult); gender (man) space (public) action (physical) and crucially, are generally without official reaction or consequence. Time and time again the girls – when they approached teachers or those in authority were dismissed for telling tales, ignored because of the ‘trivial’ nature of their complaint or relayed that old adage, ‘he’s only doing it because he likes you’. Thus their experiences were minimised and the behaviours, normalised.

This not only results in girls being unable to access a framework by which to make sense of their own experiences, but it also serves to invalidate and minimise many of their own experiences of violence and violent behaviour which is then replicated in their adult lives where much behaviour is seen as what Dobash and Dobash (1992) termed the ‘everyday interactions’ between men and women; the everyday sexism documented here.

The feminist project of ‘naming’, ‘involves making visible what was invisible, defining as unacceptable what was acceptable and insisting what was naturalized is problematic’ (Kelly, 1988: 139). It enables women to name, understand and challenge what had happened to them, by moving the private into the public domain and shifting the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

For me this also explains why countries such as Denmark and Sweden had higher figures for men’s violence against women in the recent study. Those countries with greater levels of gender equality are more likely to provide ‘official’ recognition for women which enables them to not only name but also define their experiences as violence.

We need to start acting upon these figures, rather than finding different ways of presenting the same old story. Preventive education and public awareness campaigns to encourage resistance to violence are essential. But we also need to challenge the normalisation of violence. We must contest the dynamics in heterosexual relationships where men’s power over women is naturalised, normalised and used as a justification both of and for the violence.



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Are you interested in becoming a book reviewer for the Gender and Education Journal?

Are you interested in becoming a book reviewer for the Gender and Education Journal?

The Gender and Education journal are currently inviting scholars to review the texts outlined on this list. If you would like to review one of these texts then please do contact the reviews editor: Dr Alexandra Allan (A.J.Allan@exeter.ac.uk).

We usually ask for reviews to be completed within two months of the text having been received, but we can negotiate deadlines where needed. Please see our additional guidelines for further advice on length and types of review and expected style.

In addition, please do get in touch with the reviews editor if:

  • You are an author of a text which you would like to have reviewed in the Gender and Education journal
  • You are aware of/have recently read a text which you think should be reviewed in the Gender and Education journal

Books for review:

1) Kosmala, K. (2013) Imagining Masculinities: Spatial and Temporal Representation and Visual Culture. London: Routledge.

2) Swartz, C. and Arnot, M. (2013) Youth Citizenship and the Politics of Belonging. London: Routledge.

3) Bradley, H. (2013) Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press.

4) Fuller, K. (2013) Gender, Identity and Educational Leadership. London: Bloomsbury Press.

5) Hearn, J., Blagojevic, M. and Harrison, K. (2013) Rethinking Transnational Men: Beyond, Between and Within Nations. London: Routledge.

6) Cooper Stoll, L. (2013) Gender in the Classroom: Teachers, Privilege and Social Inequalities. Plymouth: Lexington Books.

7) Sharma, S. (2013) Reclaiming Education in Transformative Spaces. London: Bloomsbury Press.

8) Jones, D and Evans, R. (2013) Men in the Lives of Young Children: An International Perspective. London: Routledge.

9) Evans, M. and Williams, C.H. (2013) Gender: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.

10) Malabou, C. (2011) Changing Difference. Cambridge: Polity Press.

11) Hampton, E. (2013) Anay’s Will To Learn: A Woman’s Education in the Shadow of Maquiladoras. Texas.

12) Pierre-Moreau, M. (2011) Les Enseignants et le genre: Les inegalites homes-femmes dans l’enseignement du second degre en France et en Angleterre. Paris: Press Universitaires De France.

13) Egan, R. D. (2013) Becoming Sexual: A Critical Appraisal of the Sexualisation of Girls. Cambridge: Polity Press.

14) Spade, J.Z. and Valentine, C.G. (2014) The Kaledioscope of Gender: Prisms, Patterns and Possibilities. London: Routledge.

15) Tice, K. (2012) Queens of Academe: Beauty Pageantry, Student Bodies and College Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

16) Bae, M.S. and Ivashkevich, O. (2013) Girls, Cultural Productions and Resistance.

17) Nairn, K., Higgins, J. and Sligo, J. (2012) Children of Rogernomics: A Neoliberal Generation Leaves School. Dunedin: Otago University Press.

18) Taylor, Y. and Addison, M. (2013) Queer Presences and Absences. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

19) Brown, R.N. and Kwayke, C.J. (2012) Wish to Live: The Hip Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader. New York: Peter Lang.

20) Livholts, M. (2012) Emergent Writing Methodologies in Feminist Studies. London: Routledge.

21) Bleich, D. (2013) The Materiality of Language: Gender, Politics and the University.

22) Maxwell, C. and Aggleton, P. (2013) Privilege, Agency and Affect: Understanding the Production and Effects of Action. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

23) Duckworth, V. (2014) Learning Trajectories, Violence and Empowerment amongst Adult Basic Skills Learners. London: Routledge.

24) Coleman, R. and Ringrose, J. (2013) Deleuze and Research Methodologies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

25) Thayer-Bacon, B.J., Stone, L. and Sprecher, K.M. (2014) Education Feminism: Classic and Contemporary Readings. New York: SUNY.

26) Spatig, L. and Amerikaner, L. (2014) Thinking Outside the Girl Box: Teaming Up With Resilient Youth in Appalachia. Ohio: Ohio University Press.

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Gender and Education Association

  • Promoting feminist scholarship and practice in gender and education internationally, nationally and locally
  • Providing an influential feminist voice
  • Promoting and problematising knowledge on gender and education
  • Encouraging teaching, learning, research and publication on gender and education
  • Providing a source of expertise and knowledge for policy makers
  • Creating networks to facilitate the exchange of information between our members.

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October 2014