Curriculum-making in South Africa: promoting gender equality and empowering women (?)
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The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (2000−2015) are clearly embedded in South Africa’s education policy documents. However, they are not adequately infused into the curriculum. This article focuses specifically on the third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) − promoting gender equality and empowering women − and the need to place this curriculum content at the centre and not on the periphery, to achieve its goal. Qualitative document research was used to explore the extent to which South Africa’s curriculummaking has promoted gender equality and the empowerment of women during the promotion of the 2000–2015 MDGs. The findings of this research show potential intersections of poverty, age and worldviews with gender; a stronger focus on human rights values; and concrete strategies to combat unhealthy sexual behaviour. However, the curriculum continues to be saturated with negative perspectives and binary perceptions of gender. There is also a lack of attention to the world of work. The assumption underlying this seems to be that gender equality and the empowerment of women are unattainable or that they are unimportant. This article concludes by underlining the need for the curriculum to be a genuine agent of change, which necessitates a new gender discourse in curriculum-making.
- Faculty of Education