National gender equity and schooling policy in Australia: struggles for a non-identitarian feminist politics
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This paper tracks the development of gender equity and schooling policy in Australia from the National Policy on the Education of Girls in 1987, to current policy concerns with boys' educational underperformance. The paper's key focus is on the ways in which feminist informed equity policy has been undermined by broader imperatives of economic rationalism and anti-feminist discourses. Drawing on Nancy Fraser's understandings of distributive and cultural gender justice and her notion of a nonidentitarian feminist politics, the paper critically examines the ways in which such imperatives have re-articulated equity and schooling concerns. Through these lenses, the limitations of the affirmative gender binary politics and remedies that have dominated gender and schooling reform in Australia are highlighted. The paper concludes with an illumination of the gender justice spaces currently being mobilised in Australian schools. Such spaces, it is argued, fostered within a context of increasing autonomy and self-management for schools, are providing avenues for creative and disruptive (pro)feminist activism.
Australian Educational Researcher
Copyright 2009 Australian Association for Research in Education . This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Gender, Sexuality and Education