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El género y sus efectos para la justicia social en educación

Gender and Its Effects on Social Justice in Education

By Héctor Gómez

Héctor Gómez is a Chilean PhD Student in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia. In 2005, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Universidad de Santiago de Chile and an MA in Education from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2013. Since 2006, he has been working in education as teacher in schools in Chile; professor in different universities in Chile; researcher focused on curriculum, gender and queer theory; and public policies in curriculum. In his most recent work, he was the National Coordinator of Social Studies in the Curriculum Unit of the Ministry of Education in Chile. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in curriculum Studies at UBC. His research is about discourses of quality in teacher education curriculum from a Performativity Theory perspective.

Gender and Its Effects on Social Justice in Education


Posted October 2016

Gender as a disciplinary field was understood first as an association with the biological difference between men and women. However, from a feminist perspective, gender can be understood as a social and cultural construction of that sexual difference (Scott, 1990; Lamas, 1999), while post-critical perspectives and queer studies have been focusing on the analysis of gender identities, denying any relationship with sex (Butler, 2004; Britzman, 1995).

Regardless of the perspective from which we place ourselves, even when we have overcome old issues around gender (equalities regarding access to education, illiteracy, dropouts, inclusive language, etc.), there remain valid aspects of symbolic order such as beliefs, expectations, stereotypes and meanings.

Considering the above, in my master's thesis I proposed discussing gender discourses in the curriculum of teacher education in Chile, from a post-critical gender perspective. My attention on this specific field responded to the findings of research arguing that teachers play a fundamental role in gender socialization of students, contributing to the reproduction of inequalities in society (Gray & Leith, 2004; FLACSO, 2006).

In this context, one of the main findings was the structural notion of gender that the subjects had, associating it with biological sexes. The interviewees (teachers who participated in the curricular design of teacher education programs) pointed out that including gender as an issue of importance in teacher education, and understanding that doing so would give more privilege to women, would go against equality of opportunities (Gómez, 2013).

This is worrying in two ways. On the one hand, teacher educators are not recognizing the importance of their educational role and responsibility in the reproduction of gender stereotypes present in the culture. On the other, it shows the persistence of structural and binary ways of knowing (Scott, 1992) that reinforce injustices, in this case, about gender.

In short, these findings show us the importance of strengthening the formative role of teachers and advancing towards equity and social justice through the visibility and appreciation of differences. The importance of gender and gender identity in this context are key for avoiding any type of violence toward all those who transgress the traditional and hegemonic gender discourse, allowing the validity, and possibility of existence of all human beings.



Britzman, D. (1995). ¿Qué es esa cosa llamada amor?. En Revista Taboo: The journal of culture and education, Volume I, Primavera. 65-93.

Butler, J. (2004). Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge.

Flacso (2006). Equidad de Género en las Reformas Educativas de América. Santiago de Chile: Autor.

Gómez, H. (2013). Análisis Crítico del Discurso y de Género de formación inicial docente de Pedagogía en Educación Básica en Chile. Tesis de Maestria: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Gray, C. y Leith, H. (2004) Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes in the Classroom: a teacher perspective. En Educacional Studies. Vol. 30, N°1. Recuperado el día 10 de junio de 2010, en

Lamas, M. (1999). Género, diferencia de sexo y diferencia sexual en Lamas, M. (Comp.) ¿Género?, Debate Feminista, Año 10, Vol. 20, México.