Higher education (HE) practitioners concerned with addressing gender on the curriculum inevitably come up against a complex range of institutional barriers. Research presented here, drawing on in-depth staff interviews, sheds light on such ‘gender work’ and the challenges and its complexities in the current moment in the UK context. Through an institutional case study we identify multiple ongoing and contemporary challenges arising for those engaged in this work. A constellation of intersecting obstacles are elucidated, wherein gender, far from being ‘mainstreamed’, is continually sidelined and deprioritized due to being positioned as peripheral, optional and of questionable value in the neoliberal episteme. Yet with urgent challenges inherent in gender equity and social justice education in the contemporary socio-political context, we contend that addressing such barriers and moving the gender mainstreaming agenda forwards is crucial. Renewed emphases on curricula may yet offer an opportunity to re-open discussions, reimagine and reinvigorate gender mainstreaming.
- higher education