Doing Gender. Social Construction of Gender in School

Term Paper, 2011

15 Pages, Grade: 1,3





1. Introduction: Gender theoretical foundations
1.1 Definition of "Gender"
1.2 Definition "Doing Gender"
1.3 Summary

2 Gender in primary school
2.1 Gender differences in school
2.1.1 Gender-typical school performance of pupils
2.1.2 Gender-related interactions at school
2.2 Doing gender in everyday school life – teaching examples
2.3 Summary

3. Towards greater gender equality
3.1 Gender-sensitive school
3.1.1 Challenge for teachers
3.1.2 Opportunities and blockages towards gender-level school culture
3.2 Summary


Bibliography and sources


Gender role behavior is learned from an early age and encouraged by the role expectations of the environment. Thinking in two sexes results in ideas and expectations in every human being as to how one's own or the opposite sex should be or behave. These ideas are a formative and formative element in interaction and communication. In this way, "gender" is constantly being produced as a social construction in everyday life. This process is called "Doing Gender". The institution of school is also a social system in which the construction of gender plays an important role.

As part of this work, the topic of "Doing Gender" in primary school is dealt with. The aim is to work out how teachers contribute to the construction of gender in primary school. There are only a few studies on this not entirely uncomplicated field of school research to date. This is surprising, since teachers play an important role in the design of everyday school life.

First, a basis for the further procedure is created by defining the terms "gender" and "doing gender". The next chapter deals in more detail with "gender" in primary school. For this purpose, the gender differences in terms of performance and interactions between pupils and teachers are also discussed. Afterwards, teaching examples will be used to show how "Doing Gender" takes place at school. The last chapter explains how gender differences and stereotyping can be avoided by means of a gender-sensitive school atmosphere. For this purpose, it is first presented what constitutes a gender-sensitive school, what challenges arise for the teachers and how the blockages to gender-sensitive action can be put an end to.

1. Introduction: Gender theoretical foundations

First, a theoretical basis is given. The terms "gender" and "doing gender" are explained in the following to create a better understanding of the further course.

1.1 Definition of "Gender"

Due to the women's movement, in the 1970s, the terms "sex" and "gender" were distinguished.1

"Sex" is understood to mean the innate biological sex. The term thus refers to the physical biological difference between male and female sex body.2

The term "gender", on the other hand, is understood to mean the social gender and is defined as follows: " Gender is an analytical term to describe the social constructedness of gender-specific characteristics and behaviors". It denotes everything about gender difference that is not biology: personal identity, familial socialization, cultural stereotypes, power and love relationships, economic life situations, social inequality, etc.3 The term is intended to show that gender identity is not innate, but is acquired socio-culturally through discursive attributions. What a society perceives as male or female is therefore the result of interpretive attributions.4

1.2 Definition "Doing Gender"

What women and men are and how they should be is produced socially. Gender is "socially constructed". The everyday continuous production of gender is called "doing gender". The central assumption of this approach is that it is not a biological or natural plant that controls behavior, but that people's everyday interactions are decisive for whether a person presents himself as "female" or "male" and is perceived as such.5 Gender is thus "made" by people in interaction. Already after birth, people are classified into two gender categories, either girls or boys. This results in gender characteristics, such as blue for the boys and pink for the girls. In the further course of life, the human being is then "made" into a girl or woman or boy or man in a complex process of educating social norms and values and traditions.6

These "doing gender processes" take place in society not only on the basis of individuals, but also through socially normed practices such as rights or the institution of the family. However, these processes are not only carried out by society, but by the person himself. The persons engage in "doing gender" by assigning themselves to a gender and ensuring that the recognition of their own gender is immediately possible for the other person.7

The institutional norms play an important role in "Doing Gender" and are a venue for gender constructions. Examples include stereotypical representations in the media, structures of gender-specific division of labor or gender-homogeneous groups at school, examples of institutional regulation. Another example is the separation of women's and men's toilets. This institutional regulation and "doing gender" lead to the creation of gender differences and usually happen unconsciously. Gender segregation in institutions affirms the "culture of bisexuality."8 Everyone thinks in two genders and has ideas and expectations about how one or the other sex should be or behave.

1.3 Summary

In summary, it can be concluded that the social gender "gender" is produced in everyday life through everyday interactions between people. Institutional regulation also contributes to the construction of gender and is usually unconscious. The institution of school is also a venue for gender constructions. How teachers contribute to the construction of gender in primary school will be explained below.


1 Düro, Nicola, Lehrerin-Lehrer, Welche Rolle spielt das Geschlecht im Schulalltag?, Opladen 2008, p.16.

2 cf. Düro, p. 16.

3 Gender Studies 2004, p.22ff.

4 Kroll, Renate, Metzler Lexikon, Gender Studies, Geschlechterforschung, Stuttgart 2002, p. 141.

5 Faulstich-Wieland, Hannelore, Spielt das Geschlecht (k)eine Rolle im Schullalltag? Plädoyer für eine Endramatisierung von Geschlecht, Berlin 2005, p.7.

6 cf.

7 Budde, Jörgen; Venth, Angela, Genderkompetenz für lebenslanges Lernen, Bielefeld 2010, p. 14.

8 cf. Budde 2010, p. 14f.

Excerpt out of 15 pages


Doing Gender. Social Construction of Gender in School
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
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ISBN (eBook)
doing, gender, social, construction, school
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Anonymous, 2011, Doing Gender. Social Construction of Gender in School, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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