Time for the boys? : gender equity policy, masculinities and the education of boys

Toussaint, Julian (2005) Time for the boys? : gender equity policy, masculinities and the education of boys. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Since the early 1990s, there has been an increasing focus on the education of boys in the media, impacting more recently on education policy processes. Some previous research has documented the background to this focus, including the impact on earlier policies and programs addressing the education of girls. However, the ways in which discourses about masculinity have informed gender equity policies in education have not been analysed at a fine-grained level. This study identifies the major perspectives involved in debates about the education of boys, and the various discourses informing them 1) advocates for boys' perspectives informed by discourses including biological essentialism and anti-feminism; 2) feminist and profeminist perspectives and discourses; and 3) social psychological perspectives and discourses. A theoretical framework for understanding discourse and policy, as well as gender and masculinities is developed, drawing on critical discourse theory and theories about gender relations. Using critical discourse analysis, drawing on the work of Fairclough, I analyse the discourses about masculinity informing two recent policy documents: Gender Equity: A Framework for Australian Schools and Education Queensland's Boys Education Strategy. The study found that the Gender Equity Framework was primarily informed by (pro)feminist discourses, although advocates for boys discourses informed the Framework in significant ways as well. The Boys Education Strategy, while primarily framed by advocates for boys' discourses, was largely informed by (pro)feminist discourses at the micro level. In both cases, discourses marginalised in the broader culture and in the debates generally, such as those associated with marginal sexualities or minority cultural groups, were found to be marginal. These findings have implications for policy and policy processes, gender equity policy and for teacher education. In particular there is a need for further research on the role of the media in policy processes as well as work on developing teacher understanding of and responses to policy processes and the construction of gender and masculinities.

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ID Code: 16012
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Taylor, Sandra & Brannock, Jillian
Keywords: construction of gender; critical discourse analysis; education of boys; education policy
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:55
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:42

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