Slipstreams and slippages of Gender Equity: How have perceptions, understandings and concerns changed over time and across contexts?

Year: 2021

Author: Gannon, Susanne, Robinson, Kerry

Type of paper: Symposium

This paper examines the mutability of concepts and discourses of ‘gender equity’ through the evidence generated through conversations with young people in the ARC funded Gender Matters research. While our study is inspired by the pivotal moment when a national Framework for Gender Equity in Australian Schools (1997) was developed, our anchor is the present moment and the views and voices of young people. Despite legislative requirements and initiatives that govern gender equality in Australia and beyond, our research indicates a wide and often confusing breadth of contemporary understandings, explanations and issues. These range from the meme of the booster box by the sportsfield through to arguments for individual rights to nonbinary gender expression. We draw on focus groups and interviews held with young people who are current senior school students and recent school leavers now studying in universities. Participants have attended more than 50 schools in all sectors across two states. We consider the breadth of ways that our participants explained the persistence of gender inequalities in many of the everyday unspectacular dimensions of school life, including sexual harassment, gender stereotyping, supporting students’ pathways to and experiences in non-traditional gender subjects, and uniforms.