Voluntary Sector Review
An international journal of third sector research, policy and practice

Girls who learn to serve: an ethnography exploring the gendered experience of school-based volunteering

Author: Emily Lau1
View author details View Less
  • 1 University of Kent, , UK
Restricted access
Get eTOC alerts
Rights and permissions Cite this article

This is a study of a school-based volunteering programme; an ethnography of six girls enrolled onto the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (DofE) at their secondary school in a deprived coastal community in the United Kingdom. Building on voluntary sector research into young people’s volunteering and feminist research into the systematic gender inequalities created by school structures, this article explores how often young people were coerced into school-based volunteering and how, in this case, the coercion was gendered. The researcher observed how the school’s prefect group, based on relations with school leaders and teachers, were recruited onto the DofE and then divided by gendered norms that ensured the girls and boys volunteered with different motivations and were incentivised and rewarded differently. Classed and gendered constructed identities, reinforced by school structures and practices, were evident in gendered school duties and caring responsibilities given to the girls. This article raises important considerations for voluntary sector–school partnerships that aim to empower and improve student opportunities. In this study, rather than challenge and empower young people, school-based volunteering served to reproduce societal classed and gendered inequalities.

  • Aapola, S., Gonick, M. and Harris, A. (2005) Young Femininity: Girlhood, Power, and Social Change, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Archard, N. (2013) Adolescent leadership: the female voice, Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 41(3): 33651. doi: 10.1177/1741143212474804

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arnot, M. (2004) Citizenship education and gender, in A. Lockyer, B. Crick and J. Annette (eds) Education for Democratic Citizenship – Issues of Theory and Practice, Aldershot: Routledge, pp 103119.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arnot, M. and Weiner, G. (1987) Gender and the Politics of Schooling, London: Hutchinson.

  • Bates, L. (2015). Everyday Sexism, London: Simon & Schuster Limited

  • Beaton, E.E., LePere-Schloop, M. and Smith, R. (2021) ‘Whatever it takes’: sexual harassment in the context of resource dependence, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 31(3): 61733 doi: 10.1093/jopart/muab005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blackman, S.J. (2007) ‘Hidden ethnography’: crossing emotional borders in qualitative accounts of young people’s lives, Sociology, 41(4): 699716. doi: 10.1177/0038038507078925

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brannen, J. (1995) Young people and their contribution to household work, Sociology, 29(2): 31738, doi: 10.1177/0038038595029002008.

  • Brown, L.M. and Gilligan, C. (1992) Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, doi: 10.4159/harvard.9780674731837.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Butler, J. (1999) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 18th edn, New York: Routledge.

  • Davies, J. (2018) ‘We’d get slagged and bullied’: understanding barriers to volunteering among young people in deprived urban areas, Voluntary Sector Review, 9(3): 25572. doi: 10.1332/204080518X15428929349286

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dean, J. (2015) Volunteering, the market, and neoliberalism, People, Place and Policy Online, 9(2): 13948. doi: 10.3351/ppp.0009.0002.0005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dean, J. (2016) Class diversity and youth volunteering in the United Kingdom: applying Bourdieu’s habitus and cultural capital, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45(1_suppl): 95S113S. doi: 10.1177/0899764015597781

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dekker, P. and Halman, L. (2003) Volunteering and values, in P. Dekker and L. Halman (eds) The Values of Volunteering: Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies, New York City, NY: Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunne, M. (2007) Gender, sexuality and schooling: everyday life in junior secondary schools in Botswana and Ghana, International Journal of Educational Development, 27(5):499511. doi: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2006.10.009

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Einolf, C.J. (2011) Gender differences in the correlates of volunteering and charitable giving, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(6): 10921112, doi: 10.1177/0899764010385949.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eliasoph, N. (2011) Making Volunteers: Civic Life After Welfare’s End, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Gaskin, K. (2004) Young People, Volunteering, and Civic Society: A Review of the Literature, London: Institute for Volunteering Research.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gilligan, C. (2002) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Gilligan, C. (2004) Knowing and not knowing: reflections on manhood, Psychotherapy and Politics International, 2(2): 99114. doi: 10.1002/ppi.76

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hargreaves, D.H., Hester, S.K. and Mellor, F.J. (1975) Deviance in Classrooms, London: Routledge.

  • Harris, A. (2004) Future Girl: Young Women in the Twenty-first Century, Hove: Psychology Press.

  • Helms-McCarty, S. (2013) Involuntary volunteering: the impact of mandated service in public schools, Economics of Education Review, 36: 295310. doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.06.003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jones, S. and Myhill, D. (2004) ‘Troublesome boys’ and ‘compliant girls’: gender identity and perceptions of achievement and underachievement, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25(5): 54761. doi: 10.1080/0142569042000252044

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Karniol, R., Grosz, E. and Schorr, I. (2003) Caring, gender role orientation, and volunteering, Sex Roles, 49(1–2): 1119. doi: 10.1023/A:1023953401662

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kelemen, M., Mangan, A. and Moffat, S. (2017) More Than a ‘Little Act of Kindness’? Towards a typology of volunteering as Unpaid Work, Sociology, 51(6): 123956, doi: 10.1177/0038038517692512.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kessler, S., Ashenden, D.J., Connell, R.W. and Dowsett, G.W. (1985) Gender relations in secondary schooling, Sociology of Education, 58(1): 3448. doi: 10.2307/2112539

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, J. and Morgül, K. (2017) Long-term consequences of youth volunteering: voluntary versus involuntary service, Social Science Research, 67: 16075. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2017.05.002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuti, É. (2004) Civic service in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: from mandatory public work toward civic service, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 33(4): 79S97S. doi: 10.1177/0899764004269740

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lingayah, S., Wrixon, K. and Hulbert, M. (2020) Home Truths: Undoing Racism and Delivering Real Diversity in the Charity Sector, London: Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Martinez, I.L., Crooks, D., Kim, K.S. and Tanner, E. (2011) Invisible civic engagement among older adults: valuing the contributions of informal volunteering, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 26(1): 2337. doi: 10.1007/s10823-011-9137-y

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maynard, M. and Purvis, J. (Eds.). (1994) Researching Women’s Lives From A Feminist Perspective (1st ed.), London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315041025

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McRobbie, A. (2004) Notes on postfeminism and popular culture: Bridget Jones and the new gender regime, in A. Harris (ed) All About the Girl: Culture, Power, and Identity, New York, NY: Routledge, pp 314.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Milbourne, L. and Cushman, M. (2015) Complying, transforming or resisting in the new austerity? Realigning social welfare and independent action among English voluntary organizations, Journal of Social Policy, 44(3): 46385. doi: 10.1017/S0047279414000853

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mills, S. and Waite, C. (2017) Brands of youth citizenship and the politics of scale: National Citizen Service in the United Kingdom, Political Geography, 56: 6676. doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2016.11.007

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Moore, C.W. and Allen, J.P. (1996) The effects of volunteering on the young volunteer, Journal of Primary Prevention, 17(2): 23158. doi: 10.1007/BF02248794

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murphy, S.F. (2017) The rise of a neo-communitarian project: a critical youth work study into the pedagogy of the National Citizen service in England, Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 16(2): 8599, doi: 10.1177/2047173417707760.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reay, D. (2017) Miseducation: Education, Inequality and the Working Classes, Bristol: Policy Press.

  • Reay, D. (2018) Miseducation: inequality, education and the working classes, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 27(4): 45356. doi: 10.1080/09620214.2018.1531229

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rochester, C. (2006) Making Sense of Volunteering: A Literature Review, London: Volunteering England,.

  • Sepulveda, L., Lyon, F. and Stevenson, N. (2011) Changing funding realities for charities and social enterprises: responses to the Big Society agenda and austerity in the East of England, Project Report, Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shelton, J.N., Alegre, J.M. and Son, D. (2010) Social stigma and disadvantage: current themes and future prospects, Journal of Social Issues, 66(3): 61833. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2010.01666.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sikora, J. and Green, J. (2020) Gifts as gains? The impact of volunteering on young people’s educational and occupational attainment in Australia, Australian Journal of Education, 64(2), https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004944120910813. doi: 10.1177/0004944120910813

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skeggs, B. (2002) (dis)identifications of Class: On Not Being Working Class. In Formations of Class and Gender: Becoming Respectable, London: SAGE Publications Ltd, doi: 10.4135/9781446217597.n5, pp 7497.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skeggs, B. (2005) The making of class and gender through visualizing moral subject formation, Sociology, 39(5): 96582. doi: 10.1177/0038038505058381

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skoe, E.A. (2010) The relationship between empathy‐related constructs and care‐based moral development in young adulthood, Journal of Moral Education, 39(2): 191211. doi: 10.1080/03057241003754930

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strickland, A. (2010) Recent developments in volunteering and citizenship, Voluntary Sector Review, 1(2): 2538. doi: 10.1332/204080510X511292

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sullivan, H., Williams, P., Marchington, M. and Knight, L. (2013) Collaborative futures: discursive realignments in austere times, Public Money & Management, 33(2): 12330. doi: 10.1080/09540962.2013.763424

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, R.F. (2004) Extending conceptual boundaries: work, voluntary work and employment, Work, Employment & Society, 18(1): 2949. doi: 10.1177/0950017004040761

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor-Collins, E. (2019) Working-class Girls and Youth Social Action: ‘Hope Labour’?, Working Paper 144, Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tronto, J.C. and Fisher, B. (1990) Toward a feminist theory of caring, in E. Abel and M. Nelson (eds) Circles of Care, Albany, NY: SUNY Press, pp 3654.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Warburton, J. and McLaughlin, D. (2006) Doing it from your heart: the role of older women as informal volunteers, Journal of Women & Aging, 18(2): 5572. doi: 10.1353/jowh.2006.0051

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yang, W. (2013) Preferences, social capital, and compulsory volunteering, Economics Letters, 120(1): 325. doi: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.03.023

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 1 University of Kent, , UK

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 105 105 105
Full Text Views 107 107 9
PDF Downloads 57 57 8

Altmetrics

Dimensions