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Liberal Feminism in Comparative Education and the Implications for Women’s Empowerment

Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2020

ISBN: 978-1-80071-908-8, eISBN: 978-1-80071-907-1

Publication date: 2 August 2021


Issues of women’s education and empowerment of women have been incorporated in the framing of the role of women in international development from the 1970s, primarily as a response to the liberal feminist movement agenda of the time. This analysis examines the degree to which liberal feminism and liberal feminist theory is reflected in comparative education scholarship in the lead up to and beyond the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The analysis first explores the underpinnings of liberal feminism, which constitutes the ideal embedded in development education for girls and women. It follows up with a reflection on the literature in the field of comparative education that reference liberal feminism framework and feminist theory in exploring educational issues and ways in which the theory is located in the research. Illustration of examples that demonstrate the limits of liberal feminism as a theoretical framework and barriers to the use of liberal feminist theory as an ideological guide are captured in the findings. The search is limited to the six dominant scholarly outlets in the field of comparative education; namely Comparative Education Review (CER), Comparative Education (CE), Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education (Compare), Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education (Prospects), International Review of Education (IRE), and the International Journal of Educational Development (IJED). Only works that explicitly mention liberal feminism/liberal feminist perspectives are included in the analysis. This research contributes to the acknowledgement of the liberal feminist theory in development education and for the field of comparative education. It will also help with understanding the politics of ideology and representation in scholarship and development interventions.



Omwami, E.M. (2021), "Liberal Feminism in Comparative Education and the Implications for Women’s Empowerment", Wiseman, A.W. (Ed.) Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2020 (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 40), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 171-196.



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