How is the educational experience gendered in terms of norms and policies?



Discussion Question:


We know that education is a gendered institution: it is governed by norms and policies and that the salience of gender often ebbs and flows across different contexts, activities, and spaces. Use the readings and lecture this week with specific examples from the Annamma et al assigned reading to answer the following:

(a) How is the educational experience gendered in terms of norms and policies?


(b) How is it also raced? 


(c) How does this differentially shape student experiences?


And (d) Why does it matter? (what are the implications?)



Material from textbook:

Norms are beliefs and practices that are well  known, widely followed, and culturally approved (like back-to-school shopping  trips). Conformity with institutionalized ways of doing things is also secured  with formal policies, which are explicit and codified expectations, often with  stated consequences for deviance (like rules related to attendance). Many policies elaborate on and reinforce norms, transforming common sense into regulations (like no cheating on tests); some policies explicitly are intended to  override and change beliefs and practices that have become the norm (like texting in class). Some norms and policies are strongly enforced while others are  enforced only weakly.

Wade, Lisa. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (Second Edition) (p. 193). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.


A gendered institution is one in which gender is used as an organizing principle.  In a gendered institution, men and women are channeled into different, and often  differently valued, social spaces or activities and their choices have different and  often unequal consequences.  Education, for example, isn’t just an institution, it’s a gendered institution.  Education is gendered through both norms and policies. Policies like gendered  honorifics for teachers (“Mr.” and “Ms.”), gender-specific dress codes, and gender segregated classes, like separate sex education units for girls and boys, make  gender an organizing principle of schooling. Meanwhile, informal norms further  make gender part of the routine practice of school. There is no policy requiring  that the girls populate the monkey bars and boys populate the sports fields at  recess, for instance, but that may be how kids distribute themselves nonetheless.3  Many American elementary school playgrounds feature this kind of “geography of gender,” but the importance of gender often fades once students return  to the classroom, where students are rarely seated by gender but instead seated  alphabetically or arranged in other ways conducive to an orderly classroom.4 In  education, as well as other institutions, the importance of gender varies.5 Kindergarten play kitchens and AP math classes, for example, may be more gendered  than nap time and Algebra I. Gender salience—the relevance of gender across  contexts, activities, and spaces—rises and falls across the different parts of the  institutional landscape.

Wade, Lisa. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (Second Edition) (p. 196). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

sorting allows us to require—with both policies and norms—that men  and women play the same sports in different ways. Both women and men play  hockey, for instance, but whereas men are allowed to “check” (body slam) one  another, it is against the rules for women to do so and punishable with penalties.  Likewise, tackle football is the province of “real men”; women (and “lesser men”)  are allowed to play “flag” (also sometimes called “powder puff”) football. At  the Olympics, female competitors in BMX, or bicycle motocross, ride a shorter  course with less difficult obstacles than their male counterparts; so do the  women who compete in slalom, downhill, and cross-country skiing.35 In the case  of baseball, women are sorted into a related but different game, softball, with its  own equipment and rules. These differing policies—especially those that forbid  women to be as physically aggressive or take on the same challenges—mean  that women and men are required to do sports both differently and unequally,  with women doing a lesser version. Whether women and girls could play or ride the way men and boys do remains an open question this way; the rules ensure  that we’ll never know.  The different aesthetic expectations for male and female athletes, sometimes encoded in judging guidelines, also create sports that reinforce beliefs about men’s and women’s talents and abilities. Writing about the feminine apologetic in figure skating, sociologist Abigail Feder keenly observed that one of  a female skater’s most useful talents is the ability to disguise the incredible  athleticism required and, instead, make it look effortless.36 Whereas male figure  skaters have been valued for appearing powerful and aggressive on the ice, the  judging norms for female figure skaters frown upon this.


Wade, Lisa. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (Second Edition) (p. 206). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Related Questions in sociology category

The ready solutions purchased from Library are already used solutions. Please do not submit them directly as it may lead to plagiarism. Once paid, the solution file download link will be sent to your provided email. Please either use them for learning purpose or re-write them in your own language. In case if you haven't get the email, do let us know via chat support.