GENDER TEACHING TO TRANSFORM GENDER PERCEPTIONS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

This paper addresses the need to introduce gender approaches into the University in order to improve our teaching. Absent or invisible, gender hardly ever appears explicitly in the teaching Plans of university grades in Spain. It has been relegated only to specialization pot-grade studies or masters, and a few optional subjects at the grade level. We focus on here the particular case of the gender approach applied to the teaching of economy and history at the University of Barcelona, regarding the grades of Economy, Political Science, Business and Administration, and Labour Relationships.

A first step has been to identify the absence of gender in the teaching plans of our grades as well as the systematic bias of most of the subjects to a single unique interpretation of the economy. By introducing the gender dimension we also aim to promote a more heterogeneous way of understanding reality where social complexity will have its own place. From that point of view, in a broader perspective, the main goal of the teaching action consists on introducing the importance of power relationships, historical constructions and inequalities into our understanding of social complex realities.

Although the ambition of the project makes it a long-term task, we can present here our preliminary results. We have designed pilot teaching actions which consist on providing the students specialized readings and multimedia materials in order to change their perceptions about gender. To assess the impact of our actions, we have performed two tests. One has been done before the action in order to state the initial level of gender awareness of the group of students. A second one takes place after the action has been performed. By that, we can present some measures of how much we can change the gender perceptions through simple teaching exercises done in class.