Shaping gender relations in early childhood education: Children's interactions and learning about gender

Author: Gunn, Alexandra C.

Date: 2017

Publisher: Springer

Type: Book item

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University of Otago


There are many theories about how one gets their gender and what this may mean for how people live their lives. Developmental texts typically present a range of psychological theories for sex differences, gender, or sex stereotyping and are replete with explanations for why children do the gendered things they do. In the West and until the late twentieth century and the rise of feminism, psychologists regarded the development of quite strictly governed gender roles and beliefs in children as a healthy expression of the so-called normal gender development. With renewed interest in the study of genders however and an increased awareness that in fact, at the extremes of the so-called gender appropriateness, social expectations are not necessarily healthy and supportive of an individual’s development, views on concepts of gender roles and gender development have begun to change. A diversity of explanations for why children do their gender the ways they do now sits alongside each other and gives rise to people’s conceptions of gender and its development in early childhood.

Citation: ["Gunn, A. C. (2017). Shaping gender relations in early childhood education: Children’s interactions and learning about gender. In A. C. Gunn & C. A. Hruska (Eds.), Interactions in Early Childhood Education - Recent Research and Emergent Concepts (Vol. 6). Springer."]

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