Gender, Navel Gazing

Thinking About the Spine of Education

Inspired by Harriett Logan, owner of Loganberry Books in Cleveland, I added an extra step while dusting and tidying up my office this morning.

My assessment, psychometrics, statistics, and research books.

My instruction, rubrics, policy, grades, and learning books.

My history, pedagogy, cultural competency, and anti-racism books (I moved some around while cleaning as I just got in a bunch of new history books).

I tried not to spend a lot of time counting or looking at patterns. If there was a male-presenting name or more male names than female ones on an edited book, I flipped it around. However, I noticed that almost all of my psychometric books were written by men, almost all of the books around classroom culture and related to K-2 are written by women. I noticed I seem to like authors as I saw the same name several times as I dusted and flipped. I wondered why I purchased a particular book and remembered the reason or excuse I used to buy other ones. I found a few books I’d forgotten I’d picked up and one I thought I lost. There’s a few I want to re-read and more than a few I’ll move to the basement and the bookcase of forgotten books.

We know women make up the spine of education – 75% of teachers are women – but they aren’t reflected in leadership positions. We can speculate about sociological reasons why such as institutional sexism (and racism) and the glass escalator or we can pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s hard though, at the individual level, to influence those statistics unless we’re in a position of leadership with the ability to hire or promote. That said, we can consider whose voices we boost, which authors we support, and who we cite. And while we may not be able to influence all male panels, we can do something about all male bookcases (or all White bookcases). It seems like a small, meaningless move but I’m a firm believer that small moves can add up to a sea changes. Eventually. Slowly. Hopefully.

 

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