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Educational Research for Social Change

versão On-line ISSN 2221-4070


MOTSA, Ncamsile. Vulnerable femininities: Implications for rural girls' schooling experiences in Swaziland. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2018, vol.7, n.2, pp.102-116. ISSN 2221-4070.

This paper draws on social constructionism to explore girls' constructions of gender within three rural primary schools in Swaziland. HIV and AIDS in Swaziland have resulted in an unprecedented number of parental deaths, rendering young children, especially girls, susceptible to poverty, various forms of gender-based violence, and unwanted pregnancies. The paper sought to understand the ways in which these girls actively perform gender to navigate challenges associated with schooling within highly patriarchal contexts, and the implications of these on gender equality and the girls' social and academic wellbeing. A qualitative narrative inquiry methodology was adopted, utilising individual and focus group interviews and participatory photovoice for data generation. The participants comprised of 15 purposively selected girls, aged between 12 and 16 years. The paper contributes to the ongoing debates on gender by raising consciousness of how understanding and addressing the schooling plight of girls (as a diverse social group) could be a useful strategy for social change and improved gender equitable relationships in schools.

Palavras-chave : gender equality; femininity; poverty; girls; schools.

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