Discourse as social communication: implications for gender equitable learning environments

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    This article focuses the battle for sustainable gender equitable learning environments on discourse as social communication. Based on a critical review of feminist research and critical men’s studies, the article foregrounds the centrality of discourse in gendered social relations, and what this implies for sustainable gender equitable learning environments. A sociological theory of social constructionism is used to highlight the role of discourse in communicating and shaping gender values and meanings. The gender-discourse nexus is discussed to illuminate insights into the intimate fellowship between these variables. The article points to complex relationships between gender, discourse and hegemony, and how these function in tandem to perpetuate the status quo of gender inequalities. Power is found to induce submission, which enables the scheme of gender inequalities to operate below the radar (or otherwise appear normal or trivial) and thus unworthy to protest against them. Strategies offered include deconstructing power relations between various gender discourses, and between learning institutions and those whom they serve. This would entail curricula revision in order to walk-the-talk of affirming and supporting girls and boys to have not only the equal rights of liberalism but also an equal right to flourish as human beings, as a principle for sustainable gender equitable learning environments.