Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Introduction to RFR/DRF Special Issue on Gender and Education in Mexico

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Introduction to RFR/DRF Special Issue on Gender and Education in Mexico

Article excerpt

One of the principal aims of gender studies has been the development of policies and mechanisms for the creation of equal opportunities for women in all countries. Although we can appreciate important strides in the social, political, economical, educational, and labour situations of women and men, the achievement of equality varies geographically and culturally.

Gender inequalities affect women and men on all social levels, in large part due to the social organization within an androcentric and patriarchal system and the prioritization of professional and public life over that of the family. Contemporary societies continue maintaining a hierarchical structure in which the "value," the "capability" and the "authority" of the sexes continue being unequal. Examples of this phenomenon are found in the studies that make up this volume, in which we can observe how discrimination, prejudice, and sexist stereotypes, linked to other factors such as the ethnicity, social class, educational level, and violence, have been and are a reality in the Mexican context. Although the case studies presented here are based within Mexico, readers from around the globe most likely will identify shared realities.

This volume of Resources for Feminist Research/Documentation sur la recherche feministe (RFR/DRF) discusses a diversity of themes related to gender studies, feminism, and education in the Mexican context. Specifically, the articles are organized into four general subject areas with gender as the central axis: Female Education from a Historical Perspective, School Violence, Access and Permanence in School, and Young People and Gender Identities.

Two contributions presented in the section, Female Education from a Historical Perspective, present information of special interest in order to understand the historical processes of the formation of the female identity. On the one hand, the article by Rosa Maria Gonzalez Jimenez, from the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional (Ajusco), entitled "The Normal School for Women and Liberal Feminism in Mexico City, Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century," describes the profile of the first generation of feminist professionals, their demands, actions, and the influence of their activism on the following generation of feminists that participated in the relevant events of the feminist movement in the United States and Mexico. Departing from the historical analysis of the political and social reality of women in the 19th century, the author discusses the motives of re-vindication of female rights in relation to existing social concerns today for the achievement of equal opportunities. The author shows how gender differentiation has been construed on diverse dimensions of social life by means of which certain characteristics, functions, and roles are assigned to men and women de-pending on their biological sex.

In this analysis, Rosa Maria Gonzalez Jimenez points out the meaning and the power of relationships among women to achieve fundamental rights. "Unity empowers" becomes the motto at this time in order to raise feminist demands which are not always well understood and accepted. As the author points out, reactions against the feminist movement soon emerged, forcing the movement to stronger affirmations and the consolidation of feminist demands, in order to obtain fundamental rights, such as the right to vote or access to education and science, traditionally public areas regarded as masculine privileges. The author maintains at all times the need to reflect on the actions, advances, and achievements of early feminists, and their influence on future feminist generations. Likewise, the article questions the current situation of women in Mexico, the equality of opportunities, access to resources, and the effective parity and equality in science and public life.

The second contribution in this section, by Virginia Avila Garcia, from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), is entitled "Montefalco School for Women: An Opus Dei' Institution in Mexico. …

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