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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Language Curricula and Gender

The Language Curricula and Gender working group aims to investigate how language curricula draw on and perpetuate gender stereotypes and how these curricula can be reassessed to challenge and overcome these stereotypes in order to advance gender equality in language learning and beyond.

About the Project

Pedagogical and curricular practices are not gender neutral. Although previous researchers have explored gender inequities in education, few have focused on how such inequities apply to the everyday practices of language education and the role that these practices play in promoting and perpetuating these inequalities.  Whether first language, second or other, language curricula, in particular play a significant role in contributing to and reifying gender stereotypes and perpetuating gender discrimination cross-culturally. Our primary objective is to investigate how language pedagogy and curricula can be marshalled to confront gender discrimination by interrogating these stereotypes in an effort to advance gender equality in language learning and beyond. Ultimately, our goal is to better understand the ways that language pedagogy reinforces and exacerbates cultural assumptions and stereotypes about gender while developing resources – both actual materials and community connections – that will enable language instructors to challenge and ultimately disrupt those assumptions and stereotypes and, at the same time, to think critically and teach dynamically about the intersection of language learning and social justice. Our project seeks to promote inclusivity through curricular and pedagogical changes that reconceptualize the language classroom as expansive spaces for critical reflection and language proficiency.

Group Members

Co-leads:
  • Rana Raddawi, MENA Languages, Arabic & Translation, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Marcelo Worsley, Computer Science and Education and Social Policy, School of Education and Social Policy
 
Group members:
  • Franziska Lys, German, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Gregory Ward, Linguistics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and, by courtesy, Philosophy, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Ragy Mikhaeel, MENA Languages, Arabic, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Julia Moore, English Language Programs, The Graduate School, and by courtesy, Linguistics, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Ana Williams, Spanish & Portuguese, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences