Locating Gender Bias and Systemic Discrimination in Public Schooling Bureaucracy

  • Stephen K. Jull


The contemporary model of bureaucracy guiding the daily functioning of public schooling in Canada is discussed in terms of its propensity for gender bias and systemic discriminatory practice. Systemic discrimination in bureaucracy is situated in a global culture of gender, founded on a universal acceptance of the duality of human sexuality, and rooted in dominant discourses of masculinity and femininity. Addressing inequities in the public schooling bureaucracy that are linked to the duality of masculinity and femininity and the resultant imbalance in the divisions of bureaucratic power and authority between men and women is fundamentally a gender issue. As such, facilitating stability-enhancing radical reform in the public schooling bureaucracy is an infinitely complex task—insofar as the foundations of the modern bureaucracy are closely tied to core sociopolitical constructs based on the so-called nature of sex, gender, and the natural distribution of knowledge-power. In the context of a critically pragmatic and practical suggestion for change, this article contextualizes Ramsay and Parker's (1992) "neo-bureaucracy" (p. 269) as a model of reform that offers the possibility for broadly defined acceptance in the teaching profession and the wider society, while bringing issues of equity and social justice to the forefront of the daily practice of teaching and learning in public schools.