International Conference on Gender and Education: Critical Issues, Policy and Practice

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The International Conference on Gender and Education took place on 29 & 30 May in London at the London Centre for Social Studies. The event was organised by the Gender Studies Platform – London Centre for Social Studies (LCSS), School of Education, Indiana University – Bloomington, Centre for Gender in Global Context (GENCEN) Michigan State University, and Department of Law – Gediz University.

The aim of the conference was to engage researchers, academics and policy makers in discussions and debates concerning the interplay between gender related issues and educational dynamics.

The conference explored the consequences and reflections of hierarchical structures in organizational settings, societal resistance involving gender issues, the politics of gender inequality, gender dimensions of laws and gendered aspects of cultural norms and values that intersect with education.

Sara Teinturier, chercheure postdoctorante au GSRL, gave a paper on:

French Catholics and Gender in Education: analysis of a misunderstanding (1995-2014)
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In the paper she explained that for several years, a part of the French Catholics has strongly opposed the so-called « Gender Theory ».

In such a context, in 2010, the French Ministry of National Education introduced a new curriculum in the subject of Biology, for High Schools’ Students (age 16-17). Its first chapter is dedicated to the following topic: « Becoming a woman or a man »; it makes a distinction between sexual identities or sexual roles in the public sphere, and sexual orientations in the private sphere.

In 2013, the French Government  created  a  « Guide for  equality  between  girls  and  boys  at  schools »  (« ABCD  de l’égalité »). The French Catholics’ protest has been strong against these educational measures, whereas at the same time they conducted an opposition to the same-sex marriage draft law.

The aim of the paper was to analyse why and how the French Catholics mobilized against what they call the « introduction of the gender theory » in national education.

On a first level, Sara Teinturier suggests a network map of Catholic mobilization: blogs, websites, social networks… that have been particularly used to build a  rhetoric  and  social  mobilization.

On  a  second  level,  she  defends  the  hypothesis  that  this mobilization cannot be understood without an historical frame: since 1995, catholic associations and think-tanks have developed their activities in such a way that they were able to strongly mobilize in 2010s.

The  sources  used  for  this  paper  are  both  Internet  and  media,  especially  Catholic  ones,  but  also interviews  realized  with Catholic leaders and militants.

This paper is part of Sara Teinturier’s post-doctoral research, which analyses the contemporary French Catholicism reorganization.

Download the full program of the conference.