College of Humanities

Gender Stereotyping a Handbrake on the Progress of Women

Gender stereotyping is an impediment to intellectual and social economic progress of women in education and the social world, according to Dr Allu Daniel, who graduated recently with a PhD in Education.

Daniel’s thesis was titled: Science Educators’ Reproduction and Subversion of Gender Stereotyping in Physical Life Science Classes in a College of Education in Nigeria.

‘Constructing equity knowledge that would promote social justice and transformation of the marginalised locally and nationally is vital in the 21st century to achieve gender parity,’ said Daniel. ‘Including females in vibrant intellectual discourse and social economic development of any nation could fast track social equity in terms of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and contribute to the increase in the Gross Domestic Product globally.’

He says his study shows that science educators engage in stereotypical beliefs and practices, sometimes subverting discriminatory practices among pre-service teachers consciously or unconsciously. These entrenched and deep-rooted cultural attitudes perpetuated by educators have devastating impacts on motivation, intellectual growth and career progress of female students.

He suggests a practical and transformative pedagogic model for the internalisation of educators and for inclusion of gender equity in science education curricula in colleges of education.

‘I started my PhD in a foreign country with language, visa, passport, financial challenges and sickness but overcame these hurdles. In June 2019, I went to Nigeria to generate data however due to strike action and the death of my younger brother, that was delayed. I returned to South Africa in February 2020 amidst the pandemic,’ he said.

Daniel is grateful to his supervisors Professor Nadaraj Govender and Professor Angela James and the staff from the School of Education who encouraged and motivated him to complete his PhD.

‘I value their regular communication, concern and pastoral care,’ he said. ‘Their pool of academic rigor, research experiences and critical engagements with diverse students with multidisciplinary focus over the years, helped me finish on time. Through my research, College educators and I were transformed from our personal patriarchal oppressive beliefs and practices towards implementing social gender equity practices in teaching. I have presented my work at conferences and published a Q2-ranked journal article as well.’