Comparative perspectives in creating gender awareness: Stories from elementary mathematics classrooms in Pakistan

Document Type



Office of the Provost


This paper focuses on gender awareness issues as a dimension of addressing the wider issue of education quality in Pakistan from the perspective of social justice. It is based on an action research project that is trying to raise gender awareness among mathematics teachers in Pakistan as an important element of introducing pedagogy of problem solving. In classrooms in Pakistan, boys and girls learn separately and, therefore, teachers and others tend to think that there are no gender issues once access is achieved and the learners are in the classroom. A first step is to enable teachers to become aware of the subtle and deeply rooted assumptions and biases which are reflected in the classrooms, so that, a single sex classroom could be gender biased depending on the teachers‟ perception of boys and girls as learners of mathematics, and on the assumptions built into the curriculum. The paper posits that improvement in quality of the curriculum and instruction is integrally linked with issues of access and questions of equity, in this case gender equity. Employing Fraser‟s (1997) framework of redistribution, recognition and participation, the paper identifies several questions for social justice in mathematics education and makes recommendations for policy and practice.