Gender Visibility

2011 August Gender Visibility
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Julie McLeod
Associate Professor
Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Julie writes about how gender is fast becoming a disappearing or marginal category in educational policy. From discussions about the national curriculum, to youth policies, to social inclusion and equity debates, gender and more specifically, the educational experiences of girls and young women, barely warrant a second glance.

She considers the construct of ‘youth-citizen’ as a particular type of citizen, then charts some of the ways in which the category of ‘vulnerable youth’ is constructed as the other to the robust active youth-citizen. This discourse promotes personal pathology and occlude the power of gender and other categories of difference.

There are examples of how young women are visibly absent in programs intended to engage youth designated as at-risk or vulnerable, and the challenges this presents to youth and education workers to reconsider the gendering of policy and public space and the ways in which vulnerability is differentially experienced and recognised as a problem.