Ideologies, gender and school policy : a comparative study of two Swiss regions (1860-1930)

Praz, Anne-Françoise

In: Paedagogica Historica: International, 2006, vol. 42, no. 3, p. 345-361

Switzerland provides an interesting case study for the development of educational policies. As a result of federalism, each state – called a canton – worked out its own school system in relative independence. How can various political and religious environments generate different educational systems according to gender? Which factors promote or hamper gender equality in school policy and... Plus

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    Summary
    Switzerland provides an interesting case study for the development of educational policies. As a result of federalism, each state – called a canton – worked out its own school system in relative independence. How can various political and religious environments generate different educational systems according to gender? Which factors promote or hamper gender equality in school policy and equal parental investment in girls’ and boys’ education? This paper proposes a comparative study of two Swiss cantons, one Protestant and progressive, the other Catholic and conservative, between 1860 and 1930. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods, a multilevel analysis is conducted. Cantonal ideologies and visions regarding gender and education emerge from the content analysis of educational periodicals and school manuals; administrative and legislative sources allow us to follow the school policy and its implementation down to the local level; and the impact of these discourses and policies on parental investment in boys’ and girls’ education is measured through a multivariate statistical analysis of the educational career of about 2300 children, living in four villages that experienced the same economic conditions. The results provide a striking evidence of the greater discrimination against girls in Catholic culture.