Applying a gender lens to civic engagement programs and materials means that those making content and curriculum decisions view those programs and materials with particular attention to gender imbalances or biases in what is being presented. Using a gender lens reveals the ways in which content and approaches are gendered – informed by, shaped by, or biased toward men’s or women’s perspectives or experiences.
It is often useful to question the assumptions and observations implicit in textbooks and other classroom material that may present a gender bias. Too often, history, political, and civic education courses reflect the prevailing gender power dynamics that have historically favored men and masculinity, perhaps even rendering women’s perspectives and experiences invisible.
To evaluate programs or materials with an eye to gender constraints, consider some of the questions below.