Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Double standards of Gender and Citizenship in the 1970s: Approaches to Emancipation Through School Culture and Curriculum
Lorna McLean

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


In 1970, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women’s Report (RCSWR) included 167 recommendations for change in Canadian society. The chapter on Education contained 33 recommendations covering topics ranging from the representation of women and girls in textbooks, athletics and the labour force to calls for language training for immigrants, “Eskimos” and “Indians.” The Report emerged at a time of optimism when a coterie of educators were imbued with an enthusiasm that with the right education and the right pedagogy, prejudice, in all its forms could be challenged, if not, eliminated (Backhouse & Flaherty, 1992).

Anupama Roy’s work on citizenship and gender is helpful in framing my analysis of citizenship as a “terrain of struggle” that draws attention to historical contexts in which citizen is an exclusive category epitomising socio-economic forces (Roy, 2010). At the same time, Roy’s work demonstrates that the idea of citizenship is potentially emancipatory, “so that at different moments in history, ‘becoming a citizen’ has involved either an extension of the status to more persons or a liberatory dismantling of hitherto existing structures of oppression to be replaced by more egalitarian and inclusive structures” (Roy, 2010, p.viii).

My research investigates the responses of various national, provincial and local women’s groups and educational communities who took seriously the directives from the RCSWR. Specifically, in this paper, I probe the publications that were created in the 1970s in English Canada by various teachers’ associations and scholars to determine how educators approached themes of intersectionality, inclusion and exclusion in society. Related to this theme, I explore how notions of citizenship and belonging were fashioned within these resource materials (Yuval-Davis, 1997; Anderson, 1991). My approach to analyzing the curriculum documents that were produced and circulated among teachers and policy makers draws upon a critical discourse methodology (Arnott & Dillabough, 2000). My findings indicate that although there was much good will behind these initiatives, public discourses about the “liberated” woman signaled an unease and apprehension in tackling the “double standard.”  This work brings out the paradox in the nature of citizenship by stressing its “liberatory potential as a momentum concept and the limits that immediately come into play when it [citizenship] unfolds in practice” (Roy, 2010, p. viii; Rebick, 2005).