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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender and family life education: a critical analysis of a mandated provincial curriculum Paton, Joanna


Traditionally school-based family life education courses were offered as electives with primarily female enrolment. Recently, however, many of these programs have been mandated for all students, highlighting the need for inclusive curricula. In British Columbia, the Career and Personal Planning curriculum has been mandated for all of B.C.'s students. The purpose of this study was to evaluate selected aspects of the Career and Personal Planning 8-12 (CAPP) curriculum documents to determine whether they are inclusive with respect to gender. Methods of content analysis were used to identify content relating to the concepts of gender, work and family. The study was guided by a framework developed from the feminist literature in family life education. Findings from the analysis revealed that the majority of content dealt with work-related topics, with significantly less attention given to the concept of family, and minimum attention given to the concept of gender. Of the gender-related material, the majority focused on two sub-topics: gender and changing work patterns, and gender's effect on job availability. However, much of this content was found to be superficial, exploratory in nature, and narrow in focus. Missed opportunities within the curriculum to deal with gender issues, particularly in relation to work and family, were also identified. Based on the findings of the content analysis it was concluded that the curriculum may best be characterized as gender absent. Implications for curriculum developers, teachers, and researchers are identified and opportunities for future research is discussed.

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