The project Study on the Gender perspective in the university teaching practise, mentioned in the LERU paper1, it is not a teaching programme as such, but a research project oriented to better identify beliefs, gaps and resistances within the faculty members, with the objective of advising on the integration the gender perspective into university curricula and the teaching practice.

Introduction

Introducing a gender perspective in higher education means developing a critical look at discrimination towards university students, to present the students the cultural worldview of gender-power and to take a responsible and active (participant) position in social change. This implies a change in the teaching-learning process, in the conceptual contents about gender relations, in knowledge not subjected to sexist distortion, in teaching methodologies not biased by gender, in the identification of cultural elements that tend to domination, in teaching strategies for change and deconstruction of identities crossed by gender (Donoso-Vazquez, Montane & Pessoa de Carvalho, 20142). 

Objectives

The ultimate goal of this research project is to analyse the faculty of the University of Barcelona (UB) in relation to their needs, beliefs and resistances to the introduction of the gender perspective into their teaching practice. It also seeks to identify the significant elements that must be part of a gender-sensitive teaching to help the university professors in their educational practice.

This research has allowed analysing what tools, resources, policies and strategies are needed to introduce a gender perspective in teaching and how to better approach it to higher education professors:

  1. To analyse beliefs, gaps and resistances of university professors towards the introduction of the gender perspective in their educational practice. This aim is justified by the need to approach the reality about the lack of enforcement of the established legislation on the introduction of the gender dimension into the teaching practice. Both beliefs, gaps and resistances of professors have been analysed in order to have an overview of their ideological aspects and teaching tools.

Specific objectives:

  • To identify training needs experienced by the faculty of the UB to develop a gender-sensitive teaching.
  • To identify the level of awareness of the UB faculty on the gender perspective.
  • To identify the beliefs of UB faculty on the contributions of gender theory in the training of future professionals and researchers.
  • To develop educational proposals to raise awareness and train teachers at UB about integrating a gender perspective in their educational practice.

2. To understand factors and general and specific elements to introduce a gender perspective in the educational practice. This objective has allowed to go one step further and make a compilation of the elements and factors for the development of teaching skills with gender as a cross cutting issue. 

Specific objectives:

  • To analyse what elements and factors should be taken into account in applying a gender perspective in the teaching-learning process.
  • To analyse what teaching methodologies, strategies, tools and resources are best suited to work with a gender perspective.
  • To know what features can be introduced into the teaching-learning process to cross it by gender.
  • To analysed the experiences that are taking place within the UB to introduce a gender perspective in teaching.

Details

This research project has been intended as a descriptive-analytical study aimed at gathering information through a mixed of quantitative-qualitative approaches that would allow to complete the objectives:

  • Qualitative study: A part of the qualitative study involved only four teaching fields (Philosophy, Nursing, Pedagogy and Psychology) with a total of 24 participants (18 women and 6 men). On the other hand, for conducting in-depth interviews with gender expert faculty, also a purposive sample was performed covering all faculties of the UB, with a total of 11 (8 women and 3 men).
  • Quantitative Study: the quantitative study intended to work with all professors in the various faculties of University of Barcelona (UB). An online survey on the needs, beliefs and resistances around gender in teaching and pedagogical practice was performed. The intention with these questionnaires was to measure the degree of importance and relevance of the topic assigned by the professor, level of training in the field and awareness of the contributions of the gender perspective in the training of university students.

    The study has followed two different phases:
     
  • Phase 1. Preparation of the analysis: The documentary research was conducted in different databases, obtaining 113 documents considered relevant and related to the topic. This analysis allowed to identify factors from other university settings and to provide pointers for conducting focus groups and interviews.
     
  • Phase 2. Analysis of reality:

I. Group discussions: The basics themes of the discussions were: 1) General aspects about gender (What is meant by gender?, What do we mean by sex?, What is the gender perspective?); 2)  Gender stereotypes; 3) Teaching practice and Introducing gender perspective in teaching, courses and on the structural elements that hinder a gender perspective in educational practice.

II. Interviews: all persons identified as experts or with some awareness on the issue of gender. From these interviews categories were stablished to make an analysis of good practices and be able to extract significant elements that could serve as benchmarks for transfer such practices to other contexts.

III. Online questionnaire to collect the views of professors on the importance, relevance, appropriateness and degree of resistance to the introduction of the gender perspective in educational practice in Higher Education. The questionnaire was sent to all professors of schools with the support of equality commissions.

IV. Data analysis: Results3

  • 1. Gendered research and innovation: Integrating sex and gender analysis, LERU 2015 (p.15)
  • 2. Donoso-Vázquez, T, Montané, A & Pessoa, M.E. (2014). Género y calidad en Educación Superior. Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 17(3), 157-171
  • 3. The results of this project have not yet been published at the time of submitting the present report, but the preliminary ones point out to some factors inhibiting the integration of the gender dimension into university teaching practices. Factors such as the lack of specific training, lack of awareness, negative perception and stigma associated to gender issues, lack of time, and the perception that there is no real need to work on these issues.