Gender and Education (GE)

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2012104

Semester and Year Offered: 4th Semester (Winter)

Course Coordinator and Team:  Dr. Manish Jain

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives:

This course aims to understand and examine how education and schooling are deeply ‘gendered’ constructs and experiences. It uses education and schooling as an entry point to examine questions related to state formation, international institutions, public policies, inequality and labour in colonial and contemporary contexts from the lens of gender. It draws on feminist engagement and critiques of education, schooling and state policies to probe how gendered constructions of knowledge and learner shape educational transaction as expressed in curriculum, textbooks and pedagogy. It engages with the historic denial and unequal access of education to girls and women and challenges to this inequality in colonial and independent India. Different national and international policy documents and discourses are examined in the course to take note of how state policies, international institutions, different sections of civil society and the intersecting vectors of gender, class, race, caste and ethnicity shape the policies, initiatives, and programmes for education of girls. This course also analyses formation and experience of schools as gendered spaces that in interaction with other social forces and processes produce masculine and feminine selves with different affective ties with the nation. Different kinds of employment of women in the formal and informal sectors of education are also probed to understand the gendered linkages of education with labour and community mobilization.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Explain key concepts related to gender and different feminist perspectives on education;
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with key policies, issues and debates around gender and education in contemporary India;
  3. Examine gendered nature of school curriculum, textbooks, school processes, classrooms, teacher attitudes and peer conversation.


Brief description of modules:

The course is organised in four units.

Unit 1: Politics of Education (3 weeks)

  1. Understanding Gender: Concepts and Lived Experience
  2. Conceptualizing knowledge, education and schooling
  3. Exploring contested aims and understandings of education, knowledge and learning; idea of an educated person; how women have grappled with knowledge
  4. Education as a Means of Socialisation and Social Control, (re)/production and transmission of knowledge, learning and social relations, social transformation


Unit 2: Gender Inequality and Schooling in India (5 weeks)

  1. Ideal of educated women: colonial, social reformist and nationalist responses
  2. Conceptualizing Gender inequality in schooling: Issues of access, enrolment, drop out; Limits of the discourse of access
  3. Unequal access with respect to formal/non-formal, public/private, rural/urban, caste, tribe, religion and states
  4. Gender and education in policy discourse in India
  5. 2.5 Educating the girl child in the era of globalization: Inter/national Policy Discourse and Initiatives; Role of international donors, Indian State and NGO’s


Unit 3: School and Curriculum as gendered spaces and texts (3 weeks)

  1. Gendered texts: Curriculum, Textbooks and nation
  2. Teacher attitudes and classroom processes
  3. Producing the Gendered Self, Nurturing Masculinities and Femininities
  4. Gender, Nation and Education


Unit 4: Gender, employment and education (2 weeks)

  1. Women’s employment in education in India
  2. Care, teaching and ‘feminization’ of teaching profession (?)
  3. Women’s participation and employment in Non-formal education, NGOs and movement-based interventions; discourses of women’s involvement in community empowerment and school improvement; PTAs/MTAs


Assessment Details with weights:

  • Group presentation: Analysis of gendered character of a social experience/event, cultural text e.g. advertisement, film, song, story, Unit 1, 20 % (First-week February)
  • Class-test Unit 1 and 2, 20 % (Third-week February)
  • Individual assignment (long essay), Unit 2, 20 % (Second week March)
  • End-term exam (40%), (End-April)


Reading List:

Unit 1

Essential Readings:

  • Geetha, V. (2002). Gender. Calcutta: Stree, pp: 1-10, 38-50 and 89-109.
  • Menon, Nivedita (2012). Family, in idem Seeing Like a Feminist. New Delhi: Zubaan, pp: 1-50.
  • Vincent, Carol (2010).The Sociology of Mothering. In Michael W. Apple, Stephen J. Ball (Eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education, New York: Routledge, pp: 109-120.
  • Martin, Jane Roland (1986). ‘Redefining the Educated Person: Rethinking the Significance of Gender’, Educational Researcher, Vol. 15, No. 6, Special Issue: The New Scholarship on Women in Education, June-July, pp: 6-10.
  • Acker, Sandra (1987). ‘Feminist Theory and the Study of Gender and Education’, International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale de l'Education, Vol. 33, No. 4, Women and Education, pp. 419-435.
  • St. Pierre, Elizabeth Adam (2000). ‘Poststructural Feminism in Education: An Overview’, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Vol. 13, No. 5, pp. 477-515.

Unit 2

Essential Readings

Unit 2.1

  • Seth, Sanjay (2007). Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp: 129-158.


Unit 2.2

  • Kumar, Krishna (2010). ‘Culture, State and Girls: An Educational Perspective’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 45, No. 17, pp: 75-84.
  • Manjrekar, Nandini (2003). ‘Contemporary Challenges to Women's Education: Towards an Elusive Goal?’. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 38, No. 43, Oct. 25-3, pp. 4577-4582.

Quantitative data set

Unit 2.3

  • Geetha, V. (2012). Dalit Feminism: Where Life-Worlds and Histories Meet. In Kavita Panjabi and Paromita Chakravarti (Eds.) Women Contesting Culture: Changing Frames of Gender Politics in India. Calcutta: Stree, pp: 243-258.
  • Paik, Shailaja (2009). ‘Chhadi Lage Chham Chham, Vidya Yeyi Gham Gham (The Harder the Stick Beats, the Faster the Flow of Knowledge): Dalit Women's Struggle for Education’, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp: 175-204.
  • Hasan, Zoya and Menon, Ritu (2005). Chapter 2, Educating Muslim Girls: A Comparison of Five Indian Cities. New Delhi: Women Unlimited. (Selection from Mary John)


Unit 2.4

  • Mohan, Nitya and Vaughan, Rosie (2008). Nationhood and the Education of Female Citizen in India, in Shailaja Fennell and Madeleine Arnot (eds.) Gender Education and Equality in a Global Context: Conceptual Frameworks and Policy Perspectives. Oxon: Routledge, pp: 181-195.
  • Department of Education (2008). ‘Education for Women’s Equality: National Policy on Education, 1986’, in Mary E. John (Ed.) Women’s Studies in India: A Reader. New Delhi: Penguin, pp: 322-328.

Unit 2.5

  • Kumar, Krishna and Gupta, Latika (2008). ‘What Is Missing in Girls’ Empowerment?’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 26/27, pp: 19-24.
  • Balagopalan, Sarada (2010). ‘Rationalizing Seclusion: A Preliminary Analysis of a Residential Schooling Scheme for Poor Girls in India’, Feminist Theory, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp: 295-308.


Unit 3

Essential Reading

Unit 3.1 and 3.4

  • Kalia, Narendra Nath (1986). ‘Women and Sexism: Language of Indian School Textbooks’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 21, No. 18, pp.: 794-797.
  • Bhog, Dipta et al (2009). Textbook Regimes: A Feminist Critique of Nation and Identity. New Delhi: Nirantar, Selected Excerpts.


Unit 3.2

  • Connolly, Paul (2003). Gendered and Gendering Spaces: Playgrounds in the Early Years. In, Christine Skelton and Becky Francis (Eds.), Boys and Girls in the Primary Classroom. Berkshire: Open University Press, pp: 113-131.
  • Browne, Naima and France, Pauline (1985). ‘Only Cissies Wear Dresses’: A Look at the Sexist Talk in the Nursery. In Gaby Weiner (ed.), Just a Bunch of Girls. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. pp: 146-159.
  • Thorne, Barrie and Luria, Zella (1986). ‘Sexuality and Gender in Children’s Daily World’s’, Social Problems, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp: 176-190.


Unit 3.3

  • Menon, Nivedita (2012). Body, in idem Seeing Like a Feminist. New Delhi: Zubaan, pp: 53-90.
  • Martino, Wayne and Pallotta-Chiarolli, Maria (2003). So what’s a boy?: Addressing issues of Masculinity and Schooling. Philadelphia: Open University Press, pp: 1- 54.


Unit 4 Essential Readings

  • Apple, Michael (2011). ‘Teaching and “Women’s Work”: A Comparative and Historical Analysis’, in Richard Arun, Irennee R. Beattie and Karly Ford (eds.) The Structure of Schooling: Readings in the Sociology of Education, Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge, pp: 371-381.
  • Manjrekar, Nandini (2013). ‘Women School Teachers in New Times: Some Preliminary Reflections’. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 335-356.