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Education to citizenship as a mean of women’s exclusion and de-mobilization?

Chiara Storari
Université de Lausanne
Farinaz Fassa Recrosio
Université de Lausanne
Chiara Storari
Université de Lausanne
Open Panel

Abstract

In recent years, strengthening social cohesion and increasing citizens’ active participation in social and political life has become a major concern in European countries. In 2004, the European Union identified the development of European citizenship as one of its main priorities. Therefore, there is a social demand for improving social inclusion and cohesion. One of sociology’s goals is to answer a social demand, which is here defined as a demand addressed by social actors and arising from practical and actual problems. It is therefore important to question this demand from a sociological point of view. Social inclusion and citizenship represent key policy goals of the Lisbon process and most European Union members have used education systems to achieve those goals through ducation to citizenship. However, there might be some discrepancies between States willingness to promote education to citizenship and programs’ actual implementation. In fact, though education to citizenship, social actors become aware of their rights and more likely to claim them. Therefore, States might define education to citizenship programs in ways that do not question the social organization. In this context, it is stricking to notice that the question of equality is rarely defined in terms of gender inequality. We discuss the place of education to gender equality in education to citizenhip programs. We propose that political discourse, the institionnalisation of of Equality Bureau, and recent improvements of women situation, lead to the assumption that gender equality is a fact. However, as the lack of conceptualization of gender inequality in education to citizenship programs show, this equality is far from being reached. We propose that considering gender equality as a reality might cause women de-mobilization, sign of a backlash putting into question women rights. It is important to highlight how citizenship might prevent women from participating to social and political life.