Sexual education – girls still invisible

Lucie Jarkovská
Faculty of Social Studies,
Masaryk University,
Brno, Czech Republic

The social transformation of the Czech society after 1989 meant in some respect a return to conservatism in social representations of gender. In the educational filed we can see that in lack of programs focused on promoting gender equality. Czech educational praxis is therefore characterized by nonreflexive reproduction of gender inequality and what more, there are moments that can be seen as explicit lessons of stereotypical masculinity and femininity.

It was proven in many researches that girls tend to be less visible part of the classroom (for example Sadker & Sadkern, 1994). However, there are school subjects and topics which are perceived by common sense as girls’ domain. Among these we can count sexual education lessons. It is believed that sexual education is more a „girls' thing“, that girls are more concerned about the topic and are more involved. The paper reveals this believe is a myth and shows how the discursive practices leave the girls out of the discourse and make them more silent and less involved in the discussion about sexuality than they are in any other subjects in school.

The author argues that sexual education, which is not gender sensitive and is not reflecting gender inequalities, is reproducing gender hierarchy and contributes to inscription of the gender inequality into girls' and boys' bodies. The process of incorporating of gender inequalities fortifies the girls’ invisibility in other subjects and spaces.

The author shows how such a paradox influences the symbolic space of schooling.
The paper is based in a particular outcome of an ethnographic research that was conducted in the 6th grade of elementary school in the Czech Republic and which focused on gender aspects of education.

key words: sexual education, gender inequality, gender socialization

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