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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Studies in the Education of Adults

For a Special Issue on
Adult Education and Gender

Abstract deadline
31 October 2022

Manuscript deadline
28 February 2023

Cover image - Studies in the Education of Adults

Special Issue Editor(s)

Camilla Fitzsimons, Department of Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University
[email protected]

Jerry O'Neill, Department of Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University
[email protected]

Sean Henry, Department of Secondary and Further Education, Edge Hill University

Clare Tebbutt, Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Dublin Trinity College
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Adult Education and Gender

Guest Editors: Camilla Fitzsimons and Jerry O’Neill (Maynooth University, Ireland), Sean Henry (Edge Hill University), Clare Tebbutt (University of Dublin Trinity College)

For many millennia, there has been much discussion on concepts of gender. In recent times, much of this focus has been on gendered dimensions of power that include how men and boys are socialised into patriarchal concepts of masculinity and how this creates inequality for many women and girls. Competing feminisms analyse the impacts of this binary in different ways. Liberal feminists argue women should lean in (Sandberg, 2013) to capitalist structures and prove that equality is within our grasp. More radical voices believe only privileged women can break the glass ceiling and only because they lean on the labour of other less privileged women; all within a neoliberal economic arrangement that relies on patriarchy (Arruzza, Bhattacharya & Fraser, 2019). These critics draw from such sources as the World Economic Forum (2020) who claim that if we follow the current trajectory of reforms, it will take a hundred years for the gender-pay gap to close. They also illuminate an ongoing hegemonic myth that women are naturally more inclined to care-work (Jaffe, 2021, p. 23), a myth that ensures they shoulder unequal levels of domestic and care work. Both situations were made worse by the Covid pandemic with women 1.8 times more likely to lose their job (Madgavkar, White, Mahajan, Xavier, & Krishnan, 2020) and more likely to juggle home-schooling with greater elder-care and disability-related workloads. Moreover, some endured well documented increases in domestic violence from abusive male partners.

Of course, gender theory doesn’t simply focus on inequality for women and girls or on dominant concepts of masculinity that help uphold this system. Theories of intersectionality encourage a distortion of any single-axis analysis rather recognises the accumulative effects of multiple oppressions such as ethnicity, citizenship, gender, social class, financial poverty, and disability (Crenshaw, 1989; Ross and Solinger, 2017). Dominant gender theory has also evolved to interrupt the male-female binary. In particular, Judith Butler (1990) has led challenges to a singular, unified version of womanhood that “constitutes the subject for whom political representation is pursued” (1990, p. 2). Moreover queer theorists continue to successfully problematise heteronormative culture and essentialist views of sexuality more broadly.

Despite these developments, a cycle continues where the traditional education system is a significant site for the inculcation of heteronormative gender norms (Heyder & Kessels, 2013) and the stigmatisation and exclusion of transgender and non-binary people (Sayre Smith, Schacter, Enders, & Juvonen, 2018). Where changes have been initiated, there are growing concerns these are often superficial where a vernacular of intersectionality and inclusivity is adopted without the corresponding commitment to ending the institutional structures that perpetuate inequality in the first place (Ahmed, 2017; Salem, 2018).

Adult educators often seek to interrupt these patterns. Sometimes this is through praxis-oriented counter-hegemonic feminist pedagogies within social movements and community spaces (Fitzsimons, 2022). Other times this is through initiatives within schools, colleges and universities. There are programmes that focus on improving equality of access such as within STEM; equality of participation through gender-responsive curricula and supports; and equality of outcome including addressing work-based and wider social issues including sexism and misogyny, transphobia and homophobia.


Ahmed, S. (2017). Living a Feminist Life. London: Duke University Press Books.

Arruzza, C., Bhattacharya, T., & Fraser, N. (2019). Feminism for the 99%. Verso books.

Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge.

Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: a Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics” . University of Chicago Legal forum., 139-168.

Fitzsimons, C. (2022). Critical education in the Irish repeal movement. Studies in the Education of Adults. doi:10.1080/02660830.2022.2077532

Heyder , A., & Kessels, U. (2013). Is School Feminine? Implicit Gender Stereotyping of School as a Predictor of Academic Achievement. Sex Roles, 69(11-12), 605-617.

Jaffe, S. (2021). Work Won't Love you Back. London: Hurst and Company.

Madgavkar, A., White, O., Mahajan, D., Xavier , A., & Krishnan, M. (2020). COVID-19 and gender equality: Countering the regressive effects. McKinsey Global Institute. Retrieved August 3, 2021, from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/covid-19-and-gender-equality-countering-the-regressive-effects#

Ross, L., & Solinger, R. (2017). Reproductive Justice: An Introduction. Berkerley: University of California Press.

Salem, S. (2018). Intersectionality and its discontents: Intersectionality as traveling theory. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 25(4), 403-418.

Sandberg, S. (2013). Lean In. New York: Wh Allen.

Sayre Smith, D., Schacter, H. L., Enders, C., & Juvonen, J. (2018). Gender Norm Salience Across Middle Schools: Contextual Variations in Associations Between Gender Typicality and Socioemotional Distress. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 47, 947–960.

World Economic Forum. (2020). Global Gender Gap Report. World Economic Forum. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2020.pdf

Submission Instructions

This special edition provides a forum for adult educators to share their work in analysing, and responding to social constructions of masculinity and femininity, in creating bespoke initiatives that address gendered dimensions of power, or in showcasing and/or critiquing any other initiatives and/or research that unpacks gender identity and dimensions of power as related to pedagogy. Articles that will be considered are those that are grounded in discourses of adult and community education for example transformative learning, critical pedagogy, lifelong learning, reflective practice in adult education and so on. We welcome creative, research approaches including autoethnography, oral history work, arts-based practice, as well as mixed-methods studies, discourse analysis, policy and/or theoretical contributions that can draw from but are not limited to, feminism, queer theory, abolitionism, intersectionality, colonialism and so on. Papers will be double-blind peer reviewed. Please note that although your abstract may be selected and you prepare a paper, we cannot guarantee acceptance by peer reviewers.

If you are interested in submitting an article, please provide a 500-word abstract by 31 October 2022 to Camilla Fitzsimons at [email protected]


You will be notified no later than 30 November 2022 of acceptance. If your abstract is accepted, the full article will need to be submitted by 28 February 2023 for external peer review. Articles will be limited to between 6000 and 8000 words in length.

If you have any questions, please contact Camilla Fitzsimons.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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