Goal 5: Gender Equality

SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
 

Goal 5: Gender Equality

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This chapter brings together key areas discussed in Chapters 2, 3 and 4 to focus on what they can tell us about female teacher agency. This discussion contributes to outlining recommendations to support effective reflective practice among teachers in India. Teacher values outlined in previous chapters act as the foundation for understanding female teacher agency and how reflective practice can be developed within teacher education. Specifically, Chapter 5 outlines the classroom as a space for female teacher empowerment and how reworking teacher effectiveness in India can support reflective practice.

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Implications for Reflective Practice
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Education in India concentrates on exam performance and consequently the teacher in India often acts as a disseminator of textbook material, as well as maintaining class discipline and respect. This book explores low-income female teachers’ speech and syntax as a crucial resource in which agency, freedom and empowerment is enacted within a strong oral tradition in India.

The book demonstrates how this socially and economically marginalised group overcome prejudices to develop relational agency and embed their authority. It shows how they establish their values and why their beliefs shape attitudes to aspiration, achievement and freedom of choice. It concludes with recommendations for policy and improvements to reflective practice in teaching.

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This chapter sets out ways in which female teachers are marginalised and continually displaced. Social, economic and education contexts of female teacher displacement examine restrictions placed on women’s work and income levels, educational opportunities for girls and their role within the household, as well as the impact of educational culture and policy on the teacher’s role. Chapter 1 concludes with an argument for the lived experiences of low-income female teachers to be taken into account to respond to a lack of representation within policy and education development within India.

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This chapter centres upon teachers’ understanding of Habermas’s notion of authentic knowledge and what teachers believe is transformation for their students and themselves. The chapter draws upon teacher responses to examine their social praxis, as defined by a form of distributed personhood, to pass on knowledge to their students.

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This chapter outlines teacher’s perceptions of their roles. This includes their social relationships with students and colleagues, expectations of behaviour from students, dynamics of the classroom and motivations to become a teacher. Family expectations and roles are also examined, as this provides a crucial foundation for understanding why women from low-income backgrounds choose to teach and how this contributes to their need to stay within the profession.

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This chapter examines the way teachers defined their social spaces in terms of who was part of their community and who was outside this. The definition of community itself is explored in this chapter in relation to teacher relationships that maintain social cohesion by avoiding internal conflict and protecting each other from external intrusion. This chapter also builds on teachers’ understanding of core neoliberal ideologies that have defined education policy in India, by commenting on what a meaningful life is for themselves.

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While the conclusion reflects on the discussion and the future direction of policy and practice to address abuse in young intimate relationships, the landscape for change remains uncertain. The impetus for change appears to have the momentum of the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and the promise of an Ofsted review of peer-on-peer sexual harassment and abuse in schools, but the commitment to sustain attitude and cultural changes that scaffold unhealthy gendered social norms remains uncertain. This should not deter us from our civic and moral duty of challenging abusive and harmful social norms and behaviour.

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The voices of the young women shaped the foundation for this book. This chapter ‘sets the scene’ regarding the nature of the problem and the context of young people’s intimate relationships. The emphasis is on how young women continually modify and negotiate their behaviours as a result of their interactions and how their understanding(s) influences existing and new definitions of behaviour within these relationships.

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Chapter 3 focuses on exploring the impact of gendered social norms of relationship roles, in particular, the power dynamics during each stage of the progression of young intimate relationships. The sense of the gendered social construction of intimate relationships will be explored, basically, the norm or cultural feature of courtship, discussing the perceived benefits and comfort gained from accepting established gendered scripts, rather than suffering the consequences of non-conformity. Young women lack the power to operationalise their egalitarian attitudes in order to engage in relationships that adhere to the description of what they expect, want or desire within a ‘healthy relationship’. They demonstrate how they carefully managed their ‘performance of self’ and the management of their own identity. It will be argued that barriers preventing the operationalisation of their attitudes, beliefs, wishes and feelings reinforce gender differences, providing unstable grounding for a change towards ‘real’ gender equality. Young women perform what they see as the expected girlfriend role to meet their boyfriends’ demands, to the detriment of their own self-development of identity.

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Chapter 4 explores the dichotomy of a slag/angel and gendered ‘sexual double standards’, and this appears as a challenging dilemma for young women from their attitudinal understanding and experiences. The discussion will focus on the pressure on young women to perform the overt sexual role which is aligned with being a ‘slag/slut’. Despite acknowledgement by young women that this is problematic and an unfair label, this is perpetuated by these women themselves. Pervasive ‘double standards’ exist in relation to girls’ and boys’ sexual activity, which function as a dichotomy for young women of angelic femininity and the stigmatised sexual slut/slag/whore, illustrating the precarious nature of their sexual reputation, in sharp contrast to young men’s laddish/sexual hero role. Thus, it is permitted and expected for young men to have a focus on the physicality of intimate relationships. The ingrained fear of transgressing gender norms and challenging this sexual emphasis places young women within the quandary of ‘sexual double standards’. The discussion explores how the ‘doing of sex’ for young women ignites a web of controversy and dilemma, often placing them in an impossible position.

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