Gender, "Race", and Class in Schooling: A New Introduction

Gender, "Race", and Class in Schooling: A New Introduction

Gender, "Race", and Class in Schooling: A New Introduction

Gender, "Race", and Class in Schooling: A New Introduction


With education and social inequalities under scrutiny, this timely book provides an up-to-date summary of research into the key issues, as well as practical strategies for educators, including strategies for staff development, working with children and school policy. The facts have changed significantly, and much received wisdom cannot be relied upon: girls' performance is rising faster than boys and surpasses them in almost all respects up to the age of 18; unequal opportunity faced by those of different race is becoming more fractured along class, gender, ethnic and religious lines; class divisions are increased with the reintroduction of selection and has become a matter of concern for government and school policy makers. This title makes good the lack of literature on inequality, and brings teachers, and those training to be teachers, the latest information.


At the beginning of the nineteenth century the family represented a working relationship which was engaged collaboratively in the production of such things as food and clothes. This work took place in the same arena as sexual relations, child bearing and child rearing. Although at that time the patriarchal role of the father was absolute, women's skills were indispensable and interdependence between the husband and wife, both being economically productive, was critical. As the nineteenth century progressed, market forces dramatically altered the structure of this working relationship. the world of the family and the world of production became separate entities. Production became part of the public sphere and the family became more and more private.

Middle-class women gradually became relatively unproductive and many working-class women, although working in the public sphere, lost many of the skills over which previously they had had control. the division of labour by gender could be characterized in the following ways: for the male, the public sphere offered waged employment, a rigid distinction between work and leisure and an income which brought with it power and independence. the middle-class woman, on the other hand, was engaged in un-waged employment, with no defined work or working hours and no defined leisure time. With no income, the woman was totally dependent on her husband and, therefore, powerless to alter or shape her destiny.

The period from 1780-1850 was one in which the idea of separate spheres for men and women became sanctified in middle class thought and practice. Women were identified with the private domain of the home and the family as wives and mothers or unmarried dependants; men, on the other hand, were associated with the public sphere of paid work, politics and business and with economic and jural responsibility for their wives and the expected brood of children. (Purvis, 1991, p. 2)

Hence the middle-class ideology of women as domestic labourers and responsible for child care, and men in paid employment, became sedimented into British culture.

The location of women in the home was further sanctioned by Victorian scientific theory and medical practices which viewed illness as a normal state

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.