Gender in the Adoption and Implementation of Sex Education Policy


We contribute to the study of gender in the US federal policymaking process by charting the relationship between the gendered meanings mobilized in the congressional debate over abstinence-only sex education policy and the gendered meanings produced within the implemented curricula. We find that abstinence-only sex education programs were rationalized in gender neutral terms in Congress while celebrating gender difference and producing explicitly gendered meanings in implementation. This contradiction between the gender neutrality of the congressional debates and the highly gendered lessons of the curricula raises important questions for how gender functions across the policy process. The argument of “what works”, abstinence or comprehension, is not enough; we need to pay attention to how it works, especially with regard to the teaching of gender inequality.

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Beechey, S. and Moon, L. (2015) Gender in the Adoption and Implementation of Sex Education Policy. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 224-233. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.37035.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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