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Gender-sensitive education is very important in the current society. In order to achieve this, researchers have a pivotal role to play in the process of promoting education justice. Researchers have made it clear that the battle for educational justice should involve all stakeholders. All stakeholders must be involved in this fight in order to achieve the expected outcome in this war, because if any form of resistance were to be met in this war, then it would probably come from the stakeholders who are ignored. By involving them, the rate of resistance is reduced. In fact, this scholar says that their involvement in this war would turn the resistance into support for educational justice. It is important to ensure that researchers remain active in this field as policymakers. This is because they are in the best position to determine the level of success that has been achieved, and what could be impeding the achievement of this equality. They are also able to recommend some of the best approaches that can be taken to eliminate some of the challenges met in the quest for educational justice. The following two articles talk about gender-sensitive education.
Summary of the articles
The need to have gender-sensitive education and gender equality has been in existence for some time now. According to Raewyn (2010), this can be traced back to several years ago when a number of women came out strongly to fight for their rights, and the need to offer them equal opportunities in education. This article talks about Kartini, a young Indonesian woman who tried to push for girl-child education about 100 years ago. Kartini was living in an Islamic society where men were largely considered as being superior to women. During this time, Indonesia was under the colonial rule of the Netherlands. The colonial government had offered an opportunity for the locals to go to a few colonial schools that were established to help the locals know how to read, write, and speak the foreign language. However, most parents were keen on taking their sons to school other than their daughters. Girls would stay at home to attend to household chores. They would then be married at a tender age, making them inferior to their husbands. In her quest to fight this vice, Kartini wrote a number of letters to her friend Stella, explaining the importance of rethinking gender education in this country. She decided to start a school, but she got no support from the colonial government. She was married but unfortunately died while giving birth to her first child. However, her letters have been used to fight stigmatization towards girl child education.
Raewyn (2010) says that it is a pleasant fact that governments around the world have come to appreciate the importance of girl child education. They have realized that it is a part of Millennium Development Goals and that it should be achieved for the growth of the welfare of the society to be realized. Kartini was denied the opportunity to start schools where girls would get equal opportunity as their male counterparts in acquiring education. However, many governments around the world have come to appreciate her concept, and are now using it to enhance gender-sensitive education.
In the quest to achieve gender-sensitive education in the society, there have been policies put in place to help achieve this objective. However, a number of assumptions have been made that affect the course of achieving this equality. One such assumption is that policies on gender always put girls and women against boys and men. There has been a massive interpretation that when talking about the need for equality, the focus is on empowering women and girls over men and boys. This wrong notion has been propelled by some individuals in various countries, who are responsible for the implementation of policies meant to create gender balance in education. This has created some form of resistance from men and boys who feel that they may be the victims of this policy if they do not come out and fight for their rights.
Another assumption that has been made is that education is good, and it empowers people. For this reason, implementers of policies meant to empower women and girls have overemphasized the provision of education for women and children. They have ignored other means of empowering women other than offering them education. The third assumption has been that men and boys are the measuring rod against which policy implementers can gauge success in empowering women. This means that in the process of empowering women, these policymakers use men as a measuring rod, and not as people who should be getting similar treatment as women in the quest to gain a good education. This has affected the process of achieving the desired goals in educating the girl child. Although gender-sensitive education has become globally recognized as being important, in many countries around the world girls are still trailing boys in accessing quality education.
While conceptualizing gender on a world scale, this scholar appreciates that there are some facts that have been ignored. For instance, people have considered globalization to mean the world society is universal. They assume that what is taking place in the United States would be the same as the activities taking place in the Indian community. This is not true. World societies have different societal structure, and in different countries, women’s position in the society differs. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, women are still restricted from undertaking some activities without express permission from their husbands or fathers. The Saudi Arabian women who want to seek further education abroad would need to seek permission to travel from their husbands, their fathers, or even their first-born sons. This gives a clear picture of the position of women in this country. This is very different from what is happening in the United States, the United Kingdom, and various other Western countries where women have as many rights and freedom as men.
Raewyn (2010) gives an example of the report given by Fortune Magazine in 2007 about the leading world chief executives. This scholar notes that about 98% of the leading chief executives in the world are men. This means that the war against male dominance in the society that was started over 100 years ago is yet to achieve the expected goals. This scholar says that a number of feminist theories have been developed to help explain the need to promote girl child education. This scholar notes that a number of theories have been developed, but most of them have failed in giving a conceptualized framework under which girls can attain the much-needed education. For this reason, there is a need to understand that these theories can no longer be held as a monologue. The stakeholders in this field must come to understand the context under which feminism can be promoted without making it appear to be a fight against male dominance. This should be made to appear as a struggle to achieve equality for all. Both men and women should have access to quality education without emphasizing on their gender difference.
The path towards achieving justice in education may take long. However, with good approaches taken by the policy implementers and goodwill from the responsible stakeholders, this is something that can be achieved. A good education should be just and not that which favors one group while ignoring another group. It is also important to note that achieving quality education that is gender-sensitive can only be realized if the outcome of that education system translates to equal opportunities in life. This means that emphasis should not be overexerted on the need to ensure that women get an education. However, it should focus on education that would lead to equitable opportunities in life after schools. This means that the Fortune Magazine should not have 98% of its leading chief executives in the world being men. Women should also find their position in the corporate world. That is when it will be considered that gender-equal education has been achieved.
Kellie (2008) focuses on issues about globalization, imagination, and some of the emerging models of ‘girl citizen’. This scholar says that around the globe, there has been a strong movement to achieve a gender-sensitive society. Kellie says, “‘Equality’ was not achieved through policies that held the state responsible (economically and/ ideologically) for social injustices, but rather through the implementation of policies, and practices that defined the state as the great equalizer of economic opportunities.” (p. 344). This statement was made in reference to the perceived relatively better girl child educational achievements in the Western countries. This scholar says that those who are fighting for achieving gender equality should stop focusing on pressurizing the government. This scholar says that this will make little or no effort in achieving gender-sensitive education because most governments around the world have learned the art of ignoring such pressures. These governments are concerned about various other issues considered more basic. Putting hopes on such governments to lead this fight would be risking the fight towards achieving a gender-sensitive education. On the contrary, the focus should be on policies that would give both genders equal opportunity towards attaining education. This brought the massive change that has been experienced in the developed world.
Kellie (2008) talks about the neoliberal reforms and the power of imagination in enhancing girl-child education. The neoliberal reforms have focused on promoting achievements of all genders not only in school but also in the social life after school. A culture of equality should be inculcated in the society right from the time a person is taken to school until he or she comes out to look for opportunities in life. This scholar brings in the power of imagination as a tool for empowering women in the corporate world. This scholar says that men have outsmarted women in the corporate world, because of their power of imagination. In management, imagination is the main technology that will differentiate a successful firm from a poorly performing one. In order for a firm to manage the market competition, there is a need to come up with creative ideas, and this can only be achieved through imagination. Girls should use this mind tool to assert themselves as an authority in various fields and in education.
They should not wait for affirmative action or other policies that are meant to favor them in order to achieve what they need in life. They should come out strongly using the power of imagination and demonstrate to the world that they have the capacity to change the world through their policies. This scholar believes that women lost their position to men through imagination. He believes that as evolution was taking place, men became more powerful through their strong imagination capacity. It is through this image that women were dismissed as being inferior to men. If women are to gain a prestigious position in the global society just as their male counterparts, then they have to use the same tool that was used to bring them down. They have to use the power of imagination. They must be creative in their activities, and be able to come up with policies that would gain them the much-needed attention. They must take an active role in the global world as agents of positive change. Constantly using state powers to gain favor would not help in this fight for justice in education.
The scholar also focuses on globalization as one of the forums through which some activists have used to attain gender-sensitive education. However, this scholar warns that globalization has very little to offer to the fight against gender inequality. Globalization only brings what is already in existence, and unless the responsible players appreciate their role in bringing this much-needed change, it may be difficult to achieve this change in the end. Kellie (2008) argues that in every society in the current world there is equal opportunity for all people irrespective of gender. Both girls and boys are offered the opportunity to go to school, and they are exposed to a similar learning environment. This scholar, therefore, wonders why the performance of boys should surpass that of girls. In real-life scenarios, various opportunities exist, and it always depends on the creativity of an individual in order to be able to achieve the much-needed objectives in life. It is not about making a lot of fuss about the need to bring equality in all sectors of the economy. It is about the individual stakeholders making a conscious move towards achieving this equality.
Theory of homogeneity in the globalized world has been perceived as a force that tries to impose the Western culture into other parts of the world. The concept of a global village has always been considered as having a world where people have similar cultural practices, economic opportunities, and are able to speak a universal language. Although some consider this as a possibility that will soon be achieved, others have been skeptical towards it, saying that the possibility of achieving this homogeneity may take centuries to be realized. However, both the proponents and critics of this homogeneity theory agree that there has been a rapid rise of a borderless world where people can easily interact with others from different parts of the world and share cultural practices. There has been a massive immigration from third world countries to the first world countries, because of the general belief that they have better opportunities to offer.
This borderless world has had a massive impact on the cultural practices of various people around the world. It has helped redefine the position of women in the society. It has helped various stakeholders in various countries realize that women can be important in helping in the development of the society. This is what this scholar describes as globalization governance. This means that as the world is globalized, there has been an increasing concern that some of the practices in some parts of the world are retrogressive. Allowing a borderless society and avoiding oppressive culture against women is the best way of achieving economic freedom in the society in order to create an environment where both men and women can develop together. It is important to note that this is not a process of enabling women to fight men in whichever forum. It is the process of enabling women to develop alongside men in a society where discrimination against women does not exist. Again, this scholar emphasizes on the fact that women should not seek special support from men or government in order to achieve what they want in life. This will be an appreciation of the fact that they are inferior to men, and therefore have to be protected if they are to achieve their goals.
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Critique of the articles
The article by Raewyn has managed to demonstrate the need for equality in the society irrespective of gender differences. The use of the story of Kartini, a young Indonesian girl who fought against discrimination of girls in education, helps to bring out the point. The message is even more powerful when Kartini dies based on her being a woman. This is revolutionary. It calls for action to be taken to achieve this equality. This article also gives statistics that help in understanding the current situation. This will help implementers of these policies avoid some of the rigid approaches they take towards achieving gender equality in education. However, the scholar failed to give a detailed count of the role of religion in achieving the much-converted justice in education. It is a fact that religion plays a big role in defining positions of men and women in the society.
The article by Kellie focused on how to become a global-girl citizen. It emphasized the need for the women to struggle on their own without any support from other forces to achieve the equality that they need. This argument is very true given that women have not been able to use their inner-self’s capacity to achieve this equality. I agree with the fact that the more protection women get from the government, the weaker they will become. I also agree with this article in its argument that it is through imagination that women became a weaker gender, and therefore, it will be through this image that women will become stronger. The article has, however, given the limited focus on how men should participate in the process of ensuring gender equality in the society.
The issue of gender education should receive a completely new shift from what it is perceived to be today. The following are some of the recommendations that I propose when dealing with gender in education.
- Stakeholders should not make gender-sensitive education appear to be a fight for women against men.
- It is important to appreciate the fact that women have the capacity to achieve their desires in life just as men.
- Women should not depend on affirmative action to be able to rise in the corporate ladder. This is because overprotection makes them even weaker.
- The focus of gender education should not just be on getting formal education. It should also look at ways of molding both men and women who are able to succeed in life after school.
- Women should use their power of imagination to achieve equality in the social and corporate life.
Becoming a global girl citizen has been the focus of some of the champions of justice in education as a way of empowering women. In this forum, the focus is on empowering women to become more responsible and powerful people in the world. The focus is on how to make a girl-child change from being a naive girl during her early education to being active and responsible women ready to take leadership in the society once they complete their education. To achieve this, the focus has been on nurturing leadership skills, entrepreneurial capabilities, and people who are self-sufficient economically, and flexible towards various issues in life. This can be achieved by empowering their ability to imagine.
Kellie, B. (2008). Imagining the global, rethinking gender in education. Discourse, Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 29(3), 343-357.
Raewyn, C. (2010). Kartini’s children: on the need for thinking gender and education together on a world scale. Gender And Education, 22(6), 603-615.