Gender Advantages and Gender Normality in the Views of Estonian Secondary School Students

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Abstract

The aim of the study on Estonian secondary school students was to obtain an overview of the gender-related views and experiences of the everyday school life by students, and to analyse the school-related factors in the development of gender roles and gender-related expectations. We view gender equality as a central condition for social sustainability.

In the article, we focus on the perceptions and interpretations of the so-called normal boy and girl and the advantages of both genders at school. We analyse the experiences and the views of young people regarding their gender positioning in everyday school life vis-à-vis their views on gender equality.

The survey used in the study consisted of 50 questions, mainly open-ended. It was conducted in 10 basic and secondary schools in grades 7, 9, 10 and 12, with a total number of 649 respondents. The open answers were analysed by applying the method of thematic qualitative content analysis. The findings reveal that the perceived advantages of both genders at school and the behaviour considered as normal at school are strongly related to traditional gender stereotypes. At the same time, students claim that they are primarily people with equal opportunities. We conclude that the belief in the ideology of gender equality outweighs personal gender-related experiences.

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