4952 teaching and gender

informal, or hidden, curriculum. Reports by
American Association of University Women
(AAUW 19922004) explore ways in which cur
riculum and gender climates of educational insti
tutions can marginalize women. The reports
critique formal curriculum for excluding or tri
vializing girls and women and for not addressing
issues of particular significance to womens lives;
for example, pay equity law, family leave policies,
or womens health. Staffing patterns in public
schools usually place men in positions of authority
over women, modeling patriarchal systems for
young learners. Furthermore, teachers do not
necessarily create, but often tolerate, gender cli
mates that are hostile to girls and women. The
AAUW report has drawn criticism for failing to
fully consider educational problems of boys and
for blaming teachers for gender inequities that
they have little power to influence. In many sys
tems, teachers have proactively addressed gender
equity issues via efforts to create gender equitable
curricula and educational climates.
At the postsecondary level, studies of gender
and teaching focus on whether women students
face chilly climates in college classrooms, espe
cially in male dominated fields such as math
and science, and whether they have adequate
opportunities for mentoring and sponsorship.
Scholars have also explored harassment and
other forms of sexual exploitation as they affect
women faculty and students. Finally, a growing
body of scholarship has examined whether or
not womens scholarship is valued as much as
mens in making hiring, tenure, promotion, and
salary decisions in colleges and universities.
The impact of gender scholarship and feminist
thought has been uneven across disciplines.
Nevertheless, substantial change in the influence
of women is evidenced by the rapid growth of
womens and gender studies curricula, depart
ments, and majors. Academic disciplines now
include committees to monitor status of women,
organizations of women scholars, and publication
outlets for gender research. In sociology, the
Sociologists for Women in Society and its affi
liated journal, Gender and Society, are examples.


Gender affects teaching careers and advantages
for men persist at all levels of education. Yet we
know little about why gender inequities per
sist in teaching, why men are reluctant to enter
teaching (despite salary advantages), and why
recruitment and retention of teachers of both
genders is increasingly problematic. Possible links
between these concerns and the feminization
of teaching, its semi professional status, and the
professionalization of the field have not been
explored in theoretically sophisticated ways. At
the postsecondary level, teaching may be threa
tened with deprofessionalization, just at a point
when women comprise a significant presence.
Although studies in local contexts have estab
lished the importance of formal and informal
curricula and gender climates for teachers and
for students, these issues are rarely researched
in national studies. We know more about the
content of curricula and the characteristics of
gender climates of educational institutions than
about the long range impact on teachers and
students. We lack a finely nuanced understand
ing of the role of teachers and educational insti
tutions in reproducing or challenging gender
stratification in society.
At the postsecondary level questions remain
about how structural changes in colleges and uni
versities will affect the status of women faculty
and gender inclusive scholarship. Womens pro
portions of college enrollments at all levels con
tinue to increase, and women are likely to make
up larger shares of college teachers in the
future. As colleges rely more heavily on part
time, contingent workforces, men are leaving
academia, and this trend is partly responsible
for increasing proportions of women faculty in
many disciplines. The implications of these
changes are not yet clear.

SEE ALSO: Education, Adult; Educational
Inequality; Gender, Education and; Gen
dered Organizations/Institutions; Professions;
Professors; Teachers


American Association of University Professors
(AAUP) (2004) Online. www.aaup.org/.
Association of American University Women
(AAUW) (1992) How Schools Shortchange Girls:
The AAUW Report. AAUW Educational Founda-
tion, Washington, DC.