New gender inequality in a multicultural society: The dominance of masculine culture in a primary school
Centre for Teacher Education National Chung Cheng University Chia-Yi, Taiwan
primary school teacher Huwei Elementary School Yun-Lin, Taiwan
Institute of Education National Chung Cheng University Taiwan, Taiwan
Gender inequality and gendered regime still exist in schools as well as in the wider society. It appears as a new form of inequality that glass ceiling is gone in the condition of women acting masculinity (Connell, 2006). Especially the gender division of labour is often seen in the personnel arrangement of schools. Addressing the policy of gender equality, this research examines whether "school leadership is a masculine culture" and "school is a male institution". This paper aims to explore the dominance of masculine culture in a primary school´s personnel and space arrangement. Drawing the male/female discourses on personnel/space arrangement, we focus on the themes of gender hierarchy, gender femininity/masculinity and gender regime.
Based on a primary school as a case study, we collected qualitative data by participant observation, individual interviews and focused group interviews from both 9 teachers and 12 six-grade students in the researched school. The interviewees were asked about their perceptions of doing administration, doing gender and performing femininity or/and masculinity.
We argue that primary school is constituted of a masculine culture in the gender division of labour determined by teachers´ masculinity or femininity. Both male and female teachers with masculinity dominated the masculine job such as student discipline, while those teachers with femininity dominated the feminine job such as student counseling. The personnel arrangement of classroom teaching job appears a patter of masculine teachers for higher graders and feminine teachers for lower graders.
The formation of masculine culture was grounded on the school micropolitics of gender regime. There is a consensus between headteacher, administrative staff and parents who agree to manipulate the personnel arrangement according to teachers´ ability (the ability means being able to acting masculinity). In a word, this primary school reproduced the gender hierarchy of traditional patriarchy society but it appeared as a new form of masculinity/femininity inequality. Gender inequality is still in place after practicing the policy of gender equality for years in Taiwan. We suggest that the gender education program need more dimensions such as gender masculinity/femininity and gender regime in order to help teachers promote gender awakening.