Education and Gender Equality (1992)

Julia Wrigley (ed.), Education and Gender Equality (London, Falmer Press, 1992).

Education and Gender Equality is an important and extensive turn of the century edited collection. It focuses on some of the central and pivotal discussions regarding the relationship and significance of education and gender equality. The collection explores four main sections: the relationship between gender, the state and education, gender and knowledge, families and schools, and the issues of diversity, social control and resistance in classrooms. Within these sections, twelve chapters by various authors study and analyse each section theme through various themes and microcosms with different contextual settings. Some examples include a Swedish perspective on women in education, gender differences in academic mathematics, the educational context for middle- and working-class women and post- secondary education of white women in 1900. The collection covers some of the most long-standing and crucial issues in relation to gender inequalities in education that not only shape experiences of individuals within the education systems, but are fundamental in dictating the attitudes, behaviours and roles of men and women throughout their lives.

The edited collection serves as a more specified branch of Philip Wexler’s, The Sociology of Education: beyond equality (Indianapolis, 1976) where he later invited Julia Wrigley to edit and in-depth analysis of this crucial topic as a  separate edited collection. The collection was published at a time of rapidly expanding feminist scholarship as a result of various social motivations including the third wave of feminism, beginning in the early 1990s. Expanding feminist studies of this time also included analyses of previous feminist upsurges, including articles such as M. L. Felstiner’s ‘Seeing ‘The Second Sex’ Through the Second Wave’ in Feminist Studies (1980). Furthermore, Gender and Education builds on various macro studies of women published in the latter half of the twentieth century, including Linda Gordon’s U.S Women’s History (Washington D.C, 1990) and L. Tilly & J. W. Scott, Women, work, and family (New York, 1987) in addition to works relating to state education, such as Carnoy, M and Levin, H, Schooling and Work in the Democratic State (Stanford, 1985).

Education and Gender Equality plays an interestingly instrumental role in exposing and exploring institutionalised gender discriminations within schooling, in addition to the shaping of femininity, independence and roles of women within education and society at large. It is important in its analysis of both the patterns and themes of gender relations, as well as the role of the state in such, offering various theoretical perspectives around the intersection of the private and public worlds of the family and government. This edited collection is extremely helpful for a wide range of study areas, with understanding of each section and chapter independently of each other, while collectively contributing to the overriding theme of education and gender equality.

Looking for more sources?

The Hypatia collection has a number of other relevant texts relating to the theme of women and education. These include, J.J. Bagley and A.J. Bagley, The state and education in England and Wales, 1833-1968 (London, 1969), O. Banks, The sociology of education, 2nd edition (London, 1971), E.M. Byrne, Women and education (London, 1978) and A. Digby, Children, school and society in nineteenth-century England (London, 1981).

There is also a wealth of both primary and secondary material relating to gender and education elsewhere. These include a variety of databases like the British Humanities Index, JSTOR, Defining Gender and the Women’s Magazine Archive.


 Written by Hannah Muskett



Education and Gender Equality (1992)