The gender of school and gender in school in the interpretations of educators

Tiiu Kuurme

Schools as institutions that recreate gender stereotypes have been studied internationally for decades. In Estonian educational research this shadow function of schools has yet to attract attention. Estonian Women’s Associations Roundtable coordinated a project that studied the perceptions and interpretations of teachers and other people linked to education in order to find out how they see manifestations of gendered differences and problems in the daily life of schools. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten educators and the results were interpreted in the light of international literature in the field. The analysis showed that differences in gendered expectation are perceived and behavioural differences are noticed, but they are explained as a natural inevitability. School reality is not associated with the problem of gender equality. Gender stereotypes are also not perceived to be problematic. The continuation of such a situation may diminish the quality of life in adulthood for both genders and diminish the value of education.