From our journals: Gender issues in education in Afghanistan and Africa


Meghan Krein

The struggle for higher education gender equity policy in Afghanistan: obstacles, challenges and achievements

By: Fred M. Hayward, University of Massachusetts and Razia Karim, University of Massachusetts

Published in: Education Policy Analysis Archives, Nov. 4, 2019

The struggle for gender equity in Afghanistan has been a long and difficult one under war conditions. That said, substantial progress has been made in transforming higher education and in improving the situation for women students and women faculty members over the last few years. This level of success happened in a challenging environment, and the authors suggest that part of that success is a consequence of the focus on gender policy in higher education, which operates in a free environment. This environment allowed the kind of analysis and discussion of traditional views about women to be examined and new policies put in place moving toward the goal of gender equity. Higher education has moved from a situation of virtually no women students, faculty or staff in 2001 to 28% women students and 14% of women faculty members in 2017. The researchers feel this is a first step in expanding improved conditions for women in Afghanistan and suggestive of a successful approach for other countries with serious problems of gender discrimination.

Unraveling the ‘female teacher effect’: The positioning and agency of female teachers in girls’ education reform

By: Alyssa Morley, Michigan State University

Published in: Education Policy Analysis Archives, Nov. 4, 2019

Concerns about the academic performance of students from marginalized groups underscore calls for students to be taught by teachers of similar racial, ethnic or gender identities, says the researcher. In sub-Saharan Africa, projects enlist women teachers as role models for girls in an effort to redress persistent gender disparities in education. But in casting women teachers as inherent role models to girls, these projects run the risk of reinforcing long-standing portrayals of women in the Global South as a monolithic group with heightened responsibility for development, Morley says. Morely identifies one policy pilot in Malawi as a window for examining this phenomenon, and pairs discourse analysis and ethnographic analysis to investigate how women teachers are constructed in this policy and how these constructions unravel in practice. Drawing on anthropology of policy, she traces how female teachers are created as particular types of “policy subjects.” Then she examines how teachers at one school grapple with these narrowly constructed roles. This study’s findings caution against a disproportionate reliance on same-gender teachers for role-modeling, particularly when these teachers also belong to marginalized groups.

Review of “Toward What Justice?”

By: McKenzie Bolar, Alicia Ouellette, Annette Quarre and Francisco Rios, Western Washington University

Published in: Education Review, Sept. 18, 2019

As Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, co-editors of the book, “Toward What Justice?” posit, we are witness to significant critiques of education at the K–12 level as well as that of higher education. Two ideological frameworks — anti-blackness and settler colonialism — are used to explain the root causes of the opportunity and achievement gaps. The question becomes, the reviewers say, whether these two ideologies are so pervasive in how we think about and engage in education in K–12 schools and universities that these institutions are beyond reform altogether. As important, answering “yes” engenders a follow-up question that requires us to consider the radical imaginary of education. 

About our journals

MLFTC sponsors three innovative, open-access journals on education scholarship. EPAA is a peer-reviewed, international, multilingual and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policymakers and development analysts concerned with education policies. Education Review publishes reviews of books on education topics and Acquired Wisdom essays by esteemed educational researchers and CIE is a peer-reviewed journal led by MLFTC graduate students. 

Contact Stephanie McBride-Schreiner to learn more about our journals.