Shweta Singh, Ph.D., M.S.W. Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago SCHOOLING GIRLS: GETTING RID OF PARADOXES
Shweta Singh, Ph.D., M.S.W.
School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
GETTING RID OF
Explores pathways to identity and its underlying motivations in the context of
urban education and schooling.
Used structured focus groups:
Study of girls aged 11 to 15 years enrolled in grades 6 to 10 from 5 different schools
located in urban India.
TENSIONS OF IDENTITY, ACHIEVEMENT, AND
SOCIET Y: URBAN SCHOOLING FOR GIRLS IN INDIA
Literature on women and girls identity: Religion and the media are considered the most influential
cultural influences (Collet, 2007; Housee, 2012; Mankekar,
With adolescent identity development in Asian populations, family and parental control are found to be important
influencers of self-concept (Lam, 2007).
For girls in India, the negotiation of identity is influenced by both traditional values and values of the evolving social
systems (Bhatia, 2006).
Adolescents in Delhi reported the self-other construction, i.e. importance of others in defining self, as important aspect of
identity (Sapru, 2006)
IDENTITY IN CULTURAL CONTEXTS
Six focus groups discussions
Open-ended questions- narrative-like content.
Interview questionnaire focused on descriptions of self and articulation of identity
Stories and anecdotes of life experiences were encouraged
40 girls in the age range of 11 to 15 years old enrolled in five dif ferent schools in a North Indian
The schools in the study can be categorized as public and private schools, coeducational and girls only schools, and schools with
English versus Regional (Hindi) language as medium of instruction .
The participants came from a range of middle class households and the majority of the participants were Hindu.
The responses described identity as -- important, great, unique, good, special, talent, and respect
illustrates an underlying grasp of self
The importance of good over bad is stressed in traditional and religious texts and in contemporary media, television, and
newspapers in India (Kothari, 1994) as well as in the primary
cultural discourse surrounding construction of self and
The integration of being and doing and the instinctive association of both with growing up automatically as a
function of aging
Responses were indicative of the continued collectivist nature of Indian society, which supports the importance of group over
SENSE OF SELF
The association with family in Indian culture is a salient factor of locating self
for these school-going girls (Chaudhuri,
School was mentioned more frequently as a context than family
RECOGNITION FROM OTHERS
Integrates poststructuralist feminist thinking with social psychology and cultural anthropology
Explore the multiplicity of pathways to identity and its underlying motivations under the influence of divergent cultural, social, and institutional discourses
The application of identities of women framework demonstrates that finding meaningful ways to articulate concepts like: identity, self-location with social systems, and individual ranking of systems can be useful tools in social development
IDENTITIES OF WOMEN FRAMEWORK
Shows need for a developing research approaches in International Social Work
To identify the divergences in composition of self and identity, roles of social institutions and their values in
constituting and influencing the individual, and
identify and assimilate the likely differences within
societies like Indias
For the girls in this study, home and school are both physical and social spaces, comprising of individuals with whom they have significant social relationships and of symbolic positions within these spaces
13 structured focus groups with 40 girls enrolled in grades 7-10 from five schools in Northern India.
Phenomenological research examines the linkages between goal-setting as agency and the experience of girlhood in the home and the school
LINKAGES BETWEEN GOAL-SETTING AS
AGENCY AND THE EXPERIENCE OF GIRLHOOD
IN THE HOME AND THE SCHOOL.
Goal-setting is a multi-layered concept that involves the establishment of long-term career
Process comprises the coordination of learning or mastery, performance and social goals in classrooms
in pursuit of such long-term objectives.
Hypothesis that individual womens nonlinear construction of contexts, grounded in culture,
informs the nature, scope and perceived
outcome of agentic performance.
CONCEPTS OF GOAL-SETTING, CONTEXT
Students pursue learning or mastery goals according to how much they value the content
and whether they are taught in ways that
encourage or at least allow deep processing
strategies (Brophy, 2005)
Job values are multi-dimensional constructs and examine the content of job -related goals,
that is, what individuals seek to attain through
work (Barten and Stromso, 2008).
GOAL-SETTING IN LITERATURE
Phenomenological research Reflection on the phenomenon being studied
Researcher identifies emergent common themes and key statements after deep engagement with the
Selection of the statements Interpreting the selected statements and exploring the
interrelationships between concepts.
Synthesized and constructed into a case study that highlights the essential structure of the phenomenon.
Verifies the constructed case with the participants
Family members values are the most significant factors influencing goal-
On multiple occasions, student state that they are motivated and encouraged by
different family members to pursue
specific career goals
Fathers (n=21), mothers (n=9), and sisters (n=12) appear in higher
frequency in the girls narratives in
connection with education and life goals
than such figures as brothers (n=7),
grandfathers (n=4) or uncles (n=2)
TYPOLOGY OF INFLUENCE
School is a formal goal-processing site.
School is instrumental for the achievement of life goals and capacity for agency.
However, the educational agenda of the school converges with the goals set by actors in the home sphere.
The non-formality of the home takes precedence over the formal atmosphere of the educational
The school staff, including teachers, is not viewed as career role models
Ideological values are ascribed through practices in the home and the school and disseminated through
Common themes emerge in the dialogues referenced in the next sections highlight the moderate realist ontology that is
representative of the phenomenological methodology
The participants themselves do not explicitly mention broad ideological frameworks (such as
liberal feminism and developmental economics)
Examined the common strands and the substantial differences among the students articulations of their experiences
To identify and verify the influences of ideological currents in the process of goal-setting for the girls
The multiple goals perspective is especially instructive in this case
Actors in the home sphere seem to exert the most dominant influence
The social goal of pleasing parents and relatives seem to be the most prominent among the three categories of goals
Performance goals related to academics conform closely with performance goals deemed necessary for the achievement of long-term goals, as dictated by actors within the home.
Home and school are interconnected in the goal achievement process and rank first and second in the hierarchy of social institutions in the girls lives.
Teachers and principals do not act as role models or influential persons in regards to
goal-setting for the girls
Intrinsic job values of altruism and societal contribution, such as bettering the economic
lot of the less well-off in India, become
enmeshed with extrinsic job values such as
economic gain and prestige
For the adolescent girls in this study situated in Lucknow, the performance of agency is
inherent to the goal-setting process
Academic performance goals are coordinated with learning goals in the classroom
environment and social goals related to family
Career counseling can enhance the agentic performance of the girls during the goal -
setting process within the school setting and
later in life.
Proposes that research on girls education and schooling in the
developing societies of India and
China is an illustration of the gender
and development paradigm.
Dyad of social value and individual benefit
SCHOOLING GIRLS AND THE GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT
QUEST FOR AN APPROPRIATE FRAMEWORK FOR WOMENS
Feminists are concerned with study of gender bias against women in content, process, and
Social activists focus on incorporating content that is aware of the social and cultural
realities of women
Research approaches in education of women are grounded in macrotheories
PERSPECTIVE ON EDUCATION OF WOMEN
IN DEVELOPING WORLD
Social value of schooling in Indian and China is drawn from measurable outcomes
Two main themes in education of women research: Focuses on returns from education
Feminist theme with a focus on gender bias in education
Developmental research in womens education is primarily focused on the evaluation of the role of
education in generating individual and social
benefits in a cost-benefit framework
THEMES IN EDUCATION OF WOMEN
Hypothesis of development proposes that educating women will yeild both social and
individual benefits (McMohan, 1999; Schultz,
Questioned due to: Variations in strength of associations between levels
of education attainments and labor force
participation and growth of domestic output
(Cameron et al., 2001).
Stems from use of labor force participation as indicator of womens contribution to economy
LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION
HYPOTHESES: Education leads to a desire for smaller family and autonomy
that helps make family planning decisions
Education leads to awareness of better childcare/lowers infant mortality
Womens awareness about good parenting increases costs of child rearing (school cost)
Education of women helps reduce bias against girl -child and desire for boy-child
Educated women marry later in life
Educated women find employment and have less time to devote to raising children
Mothers education in less developed areas has been found to explain more of the
variance in child welfare outcomes (survival,
Qualified by two factors: The son preference remains strong among women,
even those with higher status as a result of education
The education of the mother either adversely affects or does not play a role in survival and health
quotients for a girl-child
CHILD WELFARE OUTCOMES
Social factors associated with the educational achievement gap are considered common to
most South Asian societies
Limited number of schools for girls, the inaccessibility of schools and poor infrastructure of
Traditional role expectations affect the educational achievement of women, even at
high levels of education
Social limitations of subjects in higher education
SOCIAL FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH
ACHIEVEMENT GAP IN INDIA
For girls especially: poverty and constraints in obtaining credit determine the level of investment a
family is willing to make in education of children
Parents prefer investing in the boys education when a choice has to be made between send a boy or girl to school
Rural areas also contributes to the gender gap in achievement
Gender disparity is noticeable at 2 levels of schooling:
INDIVIDUAL FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH
ACHIEVEMENT GAP IN INDIA
One reason for achievement gap in education is lower economic returns from educating women as compared to men
In addition to lack of opportunity, there is a lack of incentive for women and their families to support educational
achievement of women
Gender-based stratification of systems of society
Occupational systems, labor markets, or state structures, and economic factors, such as market failure or immature markets
Studies in India have found a positive association between higher education of women and increasing economic returns
Irrespective of gender, there is equality when the years of education are the same
Findings reaffirms gender bias against women in the labor market
GENDER GAP IN RETURNS FROM
Identifies the: Inadequate incorporation of womens social contexts in setting
goals of womens education
Preoccupation with economic developmental goals in assessing outcomes of education
Narrow frame of reference for the identification of problems
Advocacy of universal solutions for womens education
Underlying principle of gender and development paradigm in research on womens education is that
education is beneficial, irrespective of local and
DO WE NEED A NEW PARADIGM?
The social outcomes of education/schooling are considered preludes to beneficial outcomes for the individual (self -
The process of deciding upon the need, suitability, and usefulness of education emphasizes social benefits and
ascribed individual benefits while largely ignoring womens
Focus of education women research is more on individual performance
Need to study education and schooling within individual contexts in order to provide alternative explanations for
dif ferences in educational achievement and education
associated outcomes for women
DO WE NEED A NEW PARADIGM? CONT.