Accepted Paper:

Exploring the role of teachers as agents of change in creating gender equal classrooms in Bolivia  


Jennifer Sawyer
Mieke T.A. Lopes Cardozo (University of Amsterdam)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper explores teachers' agency in creating social justice, based on research on gender equality in the Bolivian education system. Our analysis uses the strategic relational approach to uncover how the dialetical relationship of structure/agency shapes teachers' attitudes to gender equality.

Paper long abstract:

Historically, the Bolivian context and education system is characterised by marginalisation through poverty, ethnicity, culture and gender. The Morales government strives to redress this imbalance and create a society in which all Bolivians can 'live well', using 'decolonization' and interculturality as the cornerstone of their agenda. The latest education reform in Bolivia seeks to decolonise the education system to achieve educational equality, and ultimately social justice, establishing teachers as the 'soldiers of change' to implement this process. However, whilst the international agenda sees gender equality as important for an egalitarian education system, the Bolivian education reform gives gender equality diminished importance in favour of the focus on interculturality. Drawing from a range of interdisciplinary fields, this paper explores the agency of teachers to effect social change in relation to gender in unequal/unjust societies. Our analysis draws from a critical realist perspective, using the strategic relational approach to uncover the dialetical relationship of structure/agency to explore teachers' attitudes to gender equality in the classroom. The paper engages with critical pegagogical literature and social and gender justice theories to connect these to ongoing debates on education and gender in Bolivia. The paper is based on a long standing research engagement of the authors as well as empirical research conducted in Bolivia.

Panel P49
Displaying recent research on Latin America and the Caribbean conducted by Nalacs members