Please tell us more about your master thesis: What was your topic and how did you discover it?
The subject of my thesis is partly rooted in my experience of school. Which I realized much later, was not just a coincidence and definitely not individual.
Access to education is a human right for which women have had to fight (and still do in some countries). Thanks to feminist struggles, I had the chance to study until higher education and acquire a lot of knowledge. But here’s the deal: this particular knowledge was occulting others. What I learned was presented as neutral – even universal – narratives, when in fact it was an exclusively male, European/androcentric and heteronormative perspective on the world and history.
Women (and their work, experiences, contributions…) remain largely under-represented (when they are not just completely absent) in all school disciplines while “sensible” topics such as sexism, racism and climate crisis are being silenced.
This fact is not insignificant: knowledge is a huge part of power and school is a place of knowledge which does not empower everyone equally. The representations and values it conveys determine the roles and relationships between women and men in society. In this sense, teaching becomes political.
That being said, despite years of studies, analyses, research, expert opinions and many proposals for solutions (often by women), the gap remains huge between policies aimed at gender equality in education and the concrete implementation of pedagogies that are supposed to enable it.
In theory, the teaching profession should be in a constant process of evolution and thus adaptation, but in practice the reality is quite different: teaching tools, materials and trainings are lagging behind.
Addressing these gaps is a major challenge as tackling (or not tackling) gender inequality is a choice for the future (or its renunciation). And this can only be waged through the demasculinization, democratization and diversification of knowledge.
Looking at different existing contexts, the theoretical part of my thesis highlights how gender, race and class inequality are systemic, systematic and often intertwined. The voices of many women (writers, philosophers, researchers, journalists, artists, etc.), past and present, shed light on this broad overview. The paradoxical role of the school, both as a potential agent of change and as an accomplice of a patriarchal and capitalist system, forms the common thread leading to my practical project.
Based on extensive questionnaires and individual interviews with education professionals, I have developed an ambitious pedagogical tool. It consists of an evolutive platform intended firstly for teachers and subsequently for students. It aims to rebalance the educational curriculum by facilitating access to resources, both challenging and complementing current dominant knowledge. It would also connect teachers and experts, regardless of their location, through spaces designed for inspiration, collaboration and action.