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Education and Gender

1. Gender and the History of Education

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the place of gender in the history of education, focusing in particular on: (i) the meaning of the term “gender”; (ii) how gendered expectations limited girls’ educational opportunities in the nineteenth century; (iii) debates regarding which subjects and forms of education were appropriate for girls in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries; (iii) how attitudes and policies changed following the Second World War and the entry of greater numbers of women into the labour market.


In this course, Dr Sam Shields (Newcastle University) explores the ways in which gender shapes educational experiences and attainment. In the first lecture, we think about how gender has influenced patterns of schooling historically, with a particular focus on girls’ education in Britain. In the second lecture, we consider the gender attainment gap which has emerged in recent decades, whereby girls perform better than boys in most subjects. In the third lecture, we look at two key explanations for this – “feminisation” arguments and gender socialisation. Next, we look at gendered patterns of subject choice. In the fifth and final lectures, we turn to think about how gender differences might be shaped and reinforced within schools by the hidden curriculum.


Dr Sam Shields is Lecturer in Education at Newcastle University. She has written on a number of topics within education studies, focusing especially on gendered experiences of education and research methods in educational settings. Her publications include Working Class Female Students’ Experiences of Higher Education: Identities, Choices and Emotions (2021) and Research and Education (2015, co-author).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Shields, S. (2021, December 06). Education and Gender - Gender and the History of Education [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Shields, S. "Education and Gender – Gender and the History of Education." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Dec 2021,

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