Dilemmas of delivery: gender, health and formal sexuality education in New Zealand/Aotearoa classrooms
AffiliationVictoria University of Wellington
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AbstractSexuality education in schools has been identified by a number of feminist scholars as a space of ‘roaring silence’ around not only young women’s sexual desire but also its inability to deliver a critical education that challenges constraining sexuality discourses. In this article we provide a critical analysis of sexuality education in New Zealand/ Aotearoa that traces the historical, socio-political and educational contexts of its delivery. Our critique uses a feminist post-structuralist discourse analysis to identify the discursive resources employed in policies and practices related to the provision of sexuality education. We also present material from a focus group study that investigated students’ perceptions of the delivery of four different sexuality education programmes by way of illustrating versions of sexuality education in practice. Our examination of sexuality education in New Zealand/Aotearoa currently and historically suggests that policy is dominated by a safer sex/victimisation discourse that spills over into schools’ delivery of sexuality education. The educational context similarly appears to constrain the content of sexuality education through its assessment requirements. Within such constraints we argue that a feminist sexuality education that nurtures girls’ sexual agency may be barely possible. On the other hand, encouragement can be taken from the students’ recognition of a need for more of the ‘good’ aspects of sex and from the opportunities for challenging some of the dominant discourses of sex that may be provided by a feminist educator.
CitationJackson S, Weatherall, A (2010) 'Dilemmas of Delivery: Gender, health and formal sexuality education in New Zealand/Aotearoa classrooms', Women's Studies Journal, 24 (1), pp.47-59.
JournalWomen's Studies Journal
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