The Structure and Agency of Women's Education

Edited by Mary Ann Maslak

Subjects: Comparative Education, Sociology
Paperback : 9780791472767, 305 pages, November 2007
Hardcover : 9780791472750, 305 pages, November 2007

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Mary Ann Maslak

PART I Structure and Agency of Educational Policy for Adolescent Girls and Adult Women

 1. The Intersection of Public Policies and Gender: Understanding State Action in Education
Nelly P. Stromquist

 2. Assessing the Status and Prospects of Women’s Empowerment through Education: A Case Study of Women Students at the University of The Gambia
Caroline Manion

 3. Structure and Agency in India’s Teacher Education Policy: Women Teachers’ Progress through a Critical Feminist Lens
Sandra L. Stacki

 4. Feast or Famine for Female Education in Kenya? A Structural Approach to Gender Equity
Lucy Mule

PART II Structure and Agency of International Forces for Female Education

 5. Promoting Girls’ Education in Africa: Evidence from the Field between 1996 and 2003
David W. Chapman and Shirley J. Miske

 6. The Dance of Agency and Structure in an Empowerment Educational Program in Mali and the Sudan
Karen Monkman, Rebecca Miles, and Peter B. Easton

 7. Res Publica Revisited: Gendered Agency through Education in NGOs
Cathryn Magno

 8. Their One Best Hope: Educating Daughters in China
Vilma Seeberg

PART III Social Relations as Structural Parameters Defining Females’ Agency in Education

 9. Female Classroom Assistants: Agents of Change in Refugee Classrooms in West Africa?
Jackie Kirk and Rebecca Winthrop

10. A World Culture of Equality? The Institutional Structure of Schools and Cross-National Gender Differences in Academic Achievement
Alexander W. Wiseman

11. Looking Beyond the Household: The Importance of Community-Level Factors in Understanding Underrepresentation of Girls in Indian Education
Amita Chudgar

PART IV Women and the Research Setting: The Intersection of Structure and Agency in Methodologies

12. Life’s Structures and the Individual’s Agency: Making Sense of Women’s Words
Flavia Ramos

13. Policy as Practice, Agency as Voice, Research as Intervention: Imag(in)g Girls’ Education in China
Heidi Ross

Abbreviated Overview of Selected Policy Recommendations on Education and Training of Adolescent Girls and Adult Women


Offers research on educational policies, programs, and practices for adolescent girls and young women, from both comparative and international perspectives.


This collection examines the educational policies, programs, and practices that offer and/or deny adolescent girls and young women the opportunity for change and advancement, from both comparative and international perspectives. Grounded in social and feminist theory, the essays focus on the dynamic interaction between agency and structure. The first part of the book outlines fundamental principles of public policy and provides examples of their application. Part two explores, within the context of globalization, the impact of international organizations—large and small—on the local level. Part three looks at the influence of sociocultural forces on women's ability to participate in educational programs. Part four proffers innovative methodologies that demonstrate how the agency of voice within the structure of the research setting ultimately furthers our understanding of women's education. Throughout the book, the complexities in delivering and improving education for females in India, China, Kenya, the United States, and other parts of the world are revealed.

Mary Ann Maslak is Associate Professor of Education at St. John's University and author of Daughters of the Tharu: Gender, Ethnicity, Religion, and the Education of Nepali Girls.


"This particular approach to analyzing gender inequality provides a welcome new framework to the literature on gender and education. The varied analyses … allow student readers to grasp the multifaceted meaning of this important concept." — CHOICE

"The intersection of structure and agency in looking at women's education worldwide is challenging, unique, and intellectually stimulating. The very organization and structure of the book forces the reader to consider new dimensions and not traditional frameworks." — Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, coeditor of A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women