Swedish Schools and Gender Equality in the 1970s

  •  Maria Hedlin    


In Sweden, as in many countries before Sweden, boys’ academic achievements are getting considerable attention as the big gender issue. The Swedish gender equality policy that was put on the agenda in the 1970s is now associated with extreme discussions. This study aims to explore how gender equality was discussed in the 1970s, in connection with work on a forthcoming curriculum. The empirical material examined consists of the preparatory work for the Swedish comprehensive school National Curriculum, LGR 80 and the publication Lärartidningen [Teachers’ Journal]. In the material, the gender inequality problem was first and foremost discussed in terms of sex-role values that led to sex-linked choices of education and jobs. Hopes that girls would turn to technical education and technical career choices were highly connected to the issue of equality between the sexes. Attention was occasionally drawn to women’s second-rate position in society, but mainly the problem of gender inequality was considered to be pupils’ attitudes rather than structures and strong cultural norms. Through information and sex-mixed classes the problem would be solved. Thus, in the material examined the gender discussions were rather superficial.


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