Spaces for gender equity in Australian early childhood education in/between discourses of human capital and feminism

Sheralyn Campbell
Kylie Smith
Kate Alexander
University of Melbourne

In this article we use feminist post-structuralist concepts of discourse and relations of power to question how a neoliberal regime of truth in Australian early childhood education impacts educators currently working for gender equity with children, prior to their entry to schooling. We show how this regime of truth is endorsed and transferred in and by key documents of the Australian National Quality Framework (NQF) including the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) in which discourses of universal rights, individual freedom and choice, and human capital dominate approaches to inclusion and diversity that govern gender equity work (ACECQA, 2011, 2017a, 2017b; DEEWR, 2009; NSW Education, 2016). Our article addresses how some educators use their understandings of feminism to negotiate spaces for gender equity work within the theoretical, political and ethical tensions arising in/between discourses that constitute this neoliberal regime of truth.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 42 Number 3 September 2017.

Don’t forget, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood is tax deductible for early childhood professionals.

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