In the sphere of gender equity, much has changed in South Africa since 1994, and much has remained the same. The immediate post-apartheid period saw both the assertion of women as equal partners in all aspects of daily life and, on the one hand, increasing social and familial violence against women and girls as well as, on the other, continuing high levels of unemployment and poverty amongst women.
In 1994, education was seen as a key vehicle for transforming unequal relationships in the broader society, but how far has South Africa come in realising these goals? And how does the South African experience relate to that of other countries and contexts? It is apparent that 10 years after South Africa's democratic elections, research and social action on gender equity in South African education remains a significant challenge.
This volume collects the reflections of policy-makers, researchers, teacher unionists and journalists on successes and challenges in the struggle to mainstream gender and effect gender equality. Their reflections are framed in the context of experiences from India, Australia and Africa.
Common themes and issues emerge, including the weakness of structures and organisations inside and outside government tasked with taking up gender issues; the need for a deeper theoretical understanding of the ways in which cultural assumptions inform gendered practices; the interrelated challenges faced by researchers and activists; the ongoing critical issues of sexual violence, HIV/AIDS and gendered identities; and the meaning and importance of 'gender struggle' in relation to both men and women, and girls and boys. This is an important and timely book, which shows that the road to gender equity in South African education is still a long one.
Gender Equity in South African Education 1994 - 2004 contains edited papers from a 2004 conference which brought together leading South African and international experts on gender equity in education, drawn from the fields of government, research and civil society. This was the first workshop or seminar in a number of years to take stock of key issues in the debate, but more importantly, to also begin to re-envision the gender debates in the education sector in South Africa in the current context.
List of tables and figures
List of abbreviations
Linda Chisholm and Jean September
Keynote address The hidden face of gender inequality in South African education
Part 1 New perspectives and theoretical approaches
1. Gender equity in education: A perspective from development
2. Gender equity in education: The Australian experience
3. Between 'mainstreaming' and 'transformation': Lessons and challenges for institutional change
Part 2 Mapping gender inequality
4. Gender equality and education in South Africa: Measurements, scores and strategies
5. Mapping a southern African girlhood in the age of AIDS
Discussant: Chapters 4 and 5
Part 3 Government activism and civil society mobilisation
6. Reflections on the Gender Equity Task Team
7. National Department of Education initiatives
Discussant: Chapters 6 and 7
8. The state of mobilisation of women teachers in the South African Democratic Teachers' Union
List of contributors and participants