Shoshanna Mayer Ph.D. (shoshana@research.haifa.ac.il)
Mon, 13 May 1996 16:26:18 -0400

I think a useful contribution to the discussion on taking only daughers,
or sons a n d dauthers to work, in the name of equity, could be the
point posited in Barbara Houston's article "Should public education be
gender free" in Lynda Stone's (ed) THE EDUCATION FEMINISM READER,
Routledge 1994. In it a distinction is being made between gender-free,
that is formal equity that has more or less already been achieved
(gender-free) but left us with the legacy of hidden discriminating
practices, like boy-favouring classroon inderaction and androcentric
learning materials. To counteract this situation, she raises the need
for gender-sensitive practices which "allows one to recognize that at
different times and in different circumstances one might be required to
adopt opposing policies in order to eliminate sex bias". For example, to
single out girls for compensatory experiences.
By this approach, gender equity, equal formal access to all resources,
would be vital but not enough in itself to eliminate gender-bias. Hence
the ideas of sex-separate science programs, all-girls social clubs, and
Take you Daugher to Work. I think this gender-sensitive approach makes a
great deal of sense to counter the unequal hidden curriculum. One
problem I see is to explain it to males, and to ... mothers of sons. The
latter ones are sometimes ambivalent as to sincerely caring for feminist
strivings, while at the same time feeling a bit apprehensive of their
sons' traditional birthrights bering tampered with,( with perhaps not a
lot to gain in the process?) So kudos for TYDTW. And would feminist
mothers of sons tell us of their feelings and son-related feminist
experiences? Shoshanna

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