The above quotation illustrates the expectations about the gender roles within families and the relationships between families and the education system as they were assumed to be almost 50 years ago. Women’s education was to be for the purposes of becoming mothers and the mainstay of the family in terms of childcare, childrearing and children’s education: the ‘private’ world of the family. Men’s education was for the ‘public’ world of work and politics: a ‘person’ or ‘citizen’. In other words, social expectations assumed a sharp sexual division of labour in the ‘private’ world of the family and the ‘public’ world, reinforced at least implicitly by the education system. These social expectations were framed publicly: they were not necessarily those of the women or mothers themselves.


Early Childhood Education Primary School Child Maternal Employment Nursery School Feminist Analysis 
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© Miriam David, Rosalind Edwards, Mary Hughes and Jane Ribbens 1993

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  • Miriam David

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