Teaching for gender justice: free to be me?
In this paper, we present case study data from research that sought to evaluate the implementation and impact of a Respectful Relationships in Education (RRE) program. The program is part of the Victorian state government’s school-based response to ending violence against women and their children. It advocates a liberal feminist aligned ‘gender lens’ (of equitable gender access, representation and participation) within six areas of a whole school approach. The paper illustrates how this lens informed the understandings and practices of educators at one of the primary schools in the research. We explore the deployment of an affirmative and non-affirmative gender politics within the context and goals of the RRE program. Identifying the potential and problematics of this deployment in working to support the goals of gender justice, we offer a theoretical framework—the status model—as a way forward. The status model supports a critical engagement with all relations and knowledges (i.e. within dominant and subordinate cultures) that oppress and marginalise. It thus supports the deployment of a critical affirmative and non-affirmative gender politics that reflects capacity to transform the underlying power relations and structures that generate gender-based violence.
KeywordsGender justice Gender-based violence Gender identity politics Respectful relationships education Nancy Fraser status model
This research was undertaken with the funding and support of Our Watch.
The paper presents research and analysis conducted by the authors. As such, any comment, opinion and position presented are that of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any persons associated with the programs or organisations featured.
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