Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.12B, 89-92
Published Online December 2013 in SciRes (
Open Access 89
Gender and Constructs from the Hidden Curriculum
Ma. del Refugio Navarro Hernández1, Prisca Icela Romo González2,
Salvador Vázquez Sánchez3
1Maestría en Educación, U niversidad Autónoma de Nayarit Tepic, Tepic, México
2Estudios de Género, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit Tepic, Tepic, México
3Secretaría de Docencia, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit Tepic, Tepic, México
Email: cuca_navarro@yaho,, Salvador
Received October 26th, 2013; revised November 26th, 2013; accepted December 4th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Ma. del Refugio Navarro Hernández et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution Li-
cense all Copyrights © 2013 are reserved for SCIRP and the owner of the intellectual property Ma. del Refugio
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The school is a foundational instance in the constructionism of gender, because of the rationale of its
purposes and the framing of its semantic intentions in organizing awareness of individuals as persons and
in their participation as citizens. However, once the school has determined its interventions, it is left un-
checked on the implicit or invisible contents which are structurally incorporated in the person, and without
this basis, the contributions to the official curriculum would be practically null. This work addresses an
integrative epistemology in both official and hidden curricula, and their impact on society. The receptors
and learners become partners of the constructs that provide identity or non-identity through symbolic
formations of a real culture which is internalized and exercised in everyday life. The gender aftermath of
the hidden curriculum from the school curriculum contents are very important in designing the sense of
living of the individuals and, in this sense, the school becomes a code of co-participatory citizenship
builder. The patterns of education support the basis, out of which are built definitions of the individual
identity and of the collectivity, meaning both teachers and learners, managers and actors of the differences
of gender.
Keywords: Hidden; Curriculum; Gender; Learners and Identities; Equity; Citizenship
The significant progress in the education of women is con-
sidered one of the most important silent revolutions of the
twentieth century. Once women released, in a certain sense, of
the prejudice of their role as the passive, submissive and indi-
viduals without autonomy, education today becomes a complex
task, since it has been incorporated into education, a female
subject when education has been designed for male subjects
and it has not structured a specific pedagogical formula for the
female gender. Educating now, conveys to the formation of free,
assertive, respectful and dialoguing women that contribute to
the solution of current world issues and to encourage to live in a
more just and democratic society. The task is to transform the
classroom spaces into reflexive spaces, capable of creating a
civic consciousness, an autonomy of life and of freedom, so
that with multitudes of professional women, will recover the
importance of women in the world.
The educational space, considered as an instance for repro-
duction and development of culture, receives the input from the
greatly increased number of educated women, as a critical tal-
ent that revolutionizes social relations and restructures the pa-
rameters which are starting to emerge in the 21st century. The
disciplinary contents, educational models, educational sylla-
buses and everything concerning education are in a constant
process of transformation, so that no longer we can speak of a
single model of educational reform, but of a lifelong quest to
adapt the increased enrolling of feminization into the educa-
tional structures, to incorporate the hypermobility of the phe-
nomena of the economic and political systems and that of in-
Women of the 21st century have emerged from silence to
become the workforce that transforms critical issues of devel-
opment into platforms for the development of goals and pur-
poses of the social work.
Education, in technical terms, can be centered in the concept
of syllabuses that contain the knowledge to be transmitted and
developed, strictly, through platforms of educational models,
(classroom, web, etc.), but to this, it must be added with some-
thing that falls in the field of things that are not possible to
incorporate, rationally, to the mechanisms of the binomial
process, teaching-learning, anything related to the hidden cor-
riculum and that, in this work, we intend to develop in terms of
the impact on the constructionism of gender.
The term hidden curriculum, coined in 1968 by Philip W.
Jackson, stated that “education” was a process of socialization,
allowing the visualization of the implicit learning of the stu-
dents during their schooling. The norms, values and social rela-
tions that have hitherto been concealed and often remained in
the obvious dimension of school life, have now emerged to the
fore and have become visible. The incorporation of the hidden
curriculum to the designing of new pedagogies has been used
to develop the proposed competencies as the basis of the educa-
tional reform of the 21st century.
Stating the Problem
The relationship of gender, education and the hidden cur-
riculum is an epistemological line that has been investigated
since the late XX century because of the importance of chang-
ing the contents of the male-female paradigm and its influence
in the social field. In this sense, Hernandez (2003), considers
education as a mechanism that produces social inequities, re-
sulting from the theory of the social reproduction, the theory of
the resistance (Bourdieu, 1997), and the theory of the develop-
ment applied from the ethnographic perspective to education.
Meanwhile, Freire (1973), Giroux and McLaren (1997) (peda-
gogical promoters of the critical theory), consider necessary
that the dominated take the word, and that school should foster
it; even more, out of this visualization and its incorporation to
the educational model of the ‘hidden curriculum’ allows the
possibility of being aware of the impact in the construction of
subjugated identities and of setting the foundations to the
struggles for the liberation of the social consciousness. The
problem is how to incorporate circumvented stories, to rewrite
narratives and give voice to silenced and marginalized groups.
In this sense, the development of the feminist movement has
provided theories that allowed the distinction between sex
(biological settings) and gender (socio-historical settings); the
notions of sexism and patriarchy (male hegemony), the analysis
of stereotypes and the determination of the mechanisms of as-
similation of gender, (remarking school as the basis for their
creation). It should be added to this, the theory of the develop-
ment of the hidden curriculum, from a sociological perspective,
as a social construction of the New Sociology of Education
(Pierre Bourdieu, Basil Bernstein, Michael Young, 1970), and
the multicultural studies of theories called post-critical theories.
It is Important to remark that the creation and dissemination
of this discourse and the practices to reposition women as per-
sons with equal rights to men has been a great achievement;
this discourse on the role of women and of the reasons of sub-
mission and oppression were not included in the revision as-
signed to masculinity (Jurjo Torres, 2011); this omission fos-
tered that human rights and social justice were affected.
Gender and Hidden Curriculum
The hidden curriculum is defined as a set of norms, customs,
beliefs and language forms that are manifested in the structure
and functioning of an institution. The knowledge derived from
this peculiar mechanism not only affects to students, but also
affects to all education stakeholders. It is a source of learning
for all the persons within the institution and it produces an ap-
propriation of a culture, acquired sometimes by persuasion and
others, by a reaction of “survival”. It is perceived as a special
phenomenon at both ends of the educa t i o nal process:
a) On their admission to school, it appears in teens, as a
“consciousness of their own plural and heteroge neous “r ealit y”,
eager to participate in the experience, and willing to make the
greatest change in their lives.
b) At the end of their schooling, it is perceived a certain level
of consciousness and interest that emerges from the collective
problems and it privileges their individual interests, related to
the various fields of their professional training.
The hidden curriculum includes the environmental, academic
and administrative structures:
a) The physical environment, when it is not adapted to the
conditions for the betterment of the school performance, it ends
up distorting the policies of control of the institution.
b) The lack of interest of the teachers in continuing their
academic upgrading may result into a poor performance in the
teaching-learning process.
c) It is found a marked differentiation of teachers involved
and committed with the Institutional policies.
d) When the administration is not committed to institutional
development reasons but to other criteria such as affinity, sym-
pathy, fellowship, cronyism the identification of students with
the mission and vision of the organization can be distorted
How Hidden Is in Reality, the Hidden
The hidden curriculum works in the areas of values, behavior
and personal qualities. The importance of values lies in the
possibility that teachers and students have to rethink, analyze
and freely discuss ideological concepts, different ways of see-
ing and interpreting reality, in order to gradually build a proper
mental framework that contribute to a political and moral
autonomy, i.e. to their own ethics, applied to all events of the
In the structuring of the “competencies” within the behav-
ioral model of education, the hidden curriculum becomes “a
subject-matter” and within the “ model by competencies” it is
considered as a general axiology or as a field of attitudes, habits,
skills and practical categories of personal fulfillment.
The Sociology of Education defines the “hidden curriculum”
as the non-explicit aspects of the curriculum. Perrenoud (2004)
believes that this type of practices are not really secret (not so
hidden); it is known that in school you learn to live in society,
to be a good citizen, to work seriously, and in general, to be
part of the stereotypes of the social environment.
The Hidden Curriculum of Gender ( HOG)
Research on gender has been developed in recent years,
(Goldberg, 1973; Sullerot, 1979; Lagarde, 1990, Lee, 2000; La-
mas, 2002); they made palpable the hidden curriculum of gen-
der (HOG), which is defined as an “internalized”, “not-visible”,
and “hidden” set made out of the construction of thoughts, val-
ues, meanings and beliefs that structure, construct and deter-
mine the relationships and social practices from and among
men and women. This HCG lies in the unconscious level.
The HOG, contains and defines the cultural conditions of
personal development by determining the sexual roles, tasks,
and personal and social expectations, and affects largely the
success or failure that each social task carries out.
The HOG, for the fact of being embedded in the culture, is
acquired in an unconscious way; and it establishes, supports
and permeates concepts, values, ways of accessing to knowl-
edge, and holds a discourse that institutes itself as a form of
The HOG and School Education
The HOG, since it constitutes part of the structure of the
Open Access
personality of men and women permeates the gender stereo-
types, such as andro-centrism and patriarchy; these are invisible
actions and therefore “natural actions”, and that, at the end of
the day turns individuals to be uncritical beings towards their
own interests, limiting them to access to a changing reality.
In the educational process, character is modeled, behaviors
are defined, but it is from the maternal womb, where “there is
no vital space” for questioning, where gender archetypes start
to be constructed; the COG is closely related to education both
formal and not-formal.
HOG: Its Impact on School Life and Training of
One of the basic processes by which the COG is set up is
because of the inability of teachers to recognize their own his-
tory; the failure to not considering their personal learning ex-
periences in the process of teaching-learning; in addition to the
low awareness in the reproduction of values, attitudes, behave-
iors and social skills; this makes that the exercise of teaching be
without a necessary critical attitude; therefore, education cannot
become really considered as a support for personal and social
What is really important in the hidden curriculum is that stu-
dents “visualize it”; that they learn that education is valuable
when it is acquired in school through critical analysis; besides,
the degree of success that the individual will enjoy in society,
“depends on the amount of knowledge that he consume; and
that the knowledge acquired about the world is more valuable
than the knowledge of the world” (Fernandez, 1994).
Education in the Perspective of Gender
In this post- postmodern society, it is an urgent necessity to
incorporate the perspective of gender in schooling institutions,
because there are still in educational institutes, classrooms and
texts, sexist practices invisible to women which place them in a
position full of prejudices on the alleged inferiority of women
compared with men.
The school, as the most important center in the formation of
the personality of men and women should be the primary space
for education in the perspective of gender, and in this way, to
be able to correct any type of social inequity.
In this scenario, the task of educational institutions is to
transmit knowledge devoid of gender stereotypes; to teach stu-
dents a non-sexist education, and achieve the personal growth
of individuals, as free persons.
Education with the perspective of gender involves the forma-
tion of the new personality of a different individual; the indi-
vidual educated on the basis of equity between the sexes, seeks
alternatives that allow access to the services that provide an
educational system, with equity, without discrimination, or
To conduct a research and a social investigation from the
perspective of gender implies the realization of an objective
analysis on the relationships, their symbolic exchanges, lan-
guage forms, etc., among genders; it involves the investigation
of the factors affecting this oppression; it deepens into the cul-
ture of institutions that sanction or legitimize these rules.
From an academic point of view, in Mexico, we find a noto-
rious absence on gender studies in universities; therefore it is
urgent to undertake a research to know the current status of
women studying in universities, in order to identify their needs,
in terms of their preparation, training, employment, health, their
social and family issues. At the same time, it should be consid-
ered a movement of transformation that visualizes discrimina-
tion and denatures their practices; this must be a movement that
denounces, that removes the status quo, that upsets and causes
hesitation on the set of the imaginary and of the social settings.
To learn to live a transformation in the collective imaginary to
experience a new way of living capable of visualizing “the
various fissures in the breakdown of the paradigm that, for
centuries, have legitimized gender inequities” (Fernandez, 1994).
These two actions are linked like the blades of a propeller
that involves a modification of the self-image, and a change in
the transformation of sensibility, in the way of thinking, the
way of living and even of having dreams.
This task requires some criteria of clarification; since it is
needed to disclose the existing relationship between the field of
the visible and that of the imaginary; between what cannot be
seen in a specific discipline, although it is determined by the
structure of the theory and the social practices that are embed-
ded in it.
From the term episteme, it is necessary to question where
from gender differences come, in order to discover their inner
logic, how can problems be designed, understood and legiti-
mized, and therefore, the logic intervention to find alternatives
of solution. Thus, culture of gender becomes a symbolic social
construction, where the discourse plays a central role to pro-
duce, construct and modify the meanings that are part of social
institutions, as important as school and family.
First, in the school interactions, can be found multiple ac-
tions or events that require visualization and that the daily rou-
tine would help to unmask them, in order to be able to create a
culture with a perspective of gender. Therefore, it is important
that both male and female teachers, produce gender alternatives
of differentiation with their students and that these differences
be reasoned and explained. In the same sense, professional
restrictions or the sub-divisions of branches of the sciences do
not become insurmountable obstacles for women seeking in-
roads into the professional domain. It must be created legisla-
tive codes that foster gender perspectives and encourage the
free movement of professional careers for women.
Secondly, in the family, as the cell of the social structure, it
is where the significance of gender is defined; therefore it is
essential that the family practices be established within a per-
spective of gender in order to live a more equitable life.
1) To implement, as a public policy, perspectives of gender
in all areas of society.
2) To promote, out from family, school and society the abil-
ity of humans for questioning about the status that women have
had up to now, in order to continue the development of femi-
nine consciousness as a structural element of historical, politi-
cal and social consciousness.
3) The perspective of gender must involve articulating proc-
esses of change permanently. Changes of consciousness of the
contemporary woman, force women, constantly, to recycle
themselves, to face the forms that occur in the rapid changes of
these postmodern societies.
4) Education today must integrate the contributions of gender
in the hidden curriculum, either through classical concepts as
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the hidden curriculum or from its transformation into the model
of competencies.
5) Co-education, that has historically been implemented,
leaves way behind its ideal expectations, especially in terms of
respect for sex differences, that is, it has been created a third
identity (unisex) which destroys the specific differences which
occur in real daily life to configure a third one that cannot be
located in a real cul tu ral context.
6) It must be carefully watched out the misrepresentations
that are understood as the most immoral, unjust and dangerous
strategies, since they only present selected texts within a frame-
work of discursive lines which serve to legitimize the social,
economic, political, religious, ethnic, linguistic and gender
inequities (Jurjo Torres, 2011); the social structures of power
have created a schizophrenic and false consciousness.
7) To avoid curricular interventions favoring exclusion.
8) To avoid processes of education created out of reality that
perpetuate and multiply the androcentric positions and to seek
those theoretical movements that strengthen the link between
education and their objectives, within real and symbolic con-
texts of a contextual culture.
9) One of the consequences of an education out of real life
context is the infantilization of the society and of the state
(Disneyland), causing a displacement of the civic consciousness
which is participatory, deliberative and purposeful, towards a
generation of young men and women electors that become ab-
stainer voters, therefore, a model of education for real democ-
racy must be considered.
The hidden curriculum is a knowledge related to processes of
internalization of knowledge transmitted in classrooms that
create patterns of understanding in students, but these are proc-
esses that are controlled only in part.
The apprenticeships, within the family, foster and reinforce
the concept of traditional femininity and masculinity, that is,
the traditional sexist conceptions, what is it to be a man and
what is it to be a woman, and consequently, it reproduces the
culture of patriarchy. School and family are two instances that
legitimize the contradictions of gender inequities.
The removing of traditions that have prevailed through years
(ten thousand years) that have constructed and deconstructed
the subjectivity, it is a task of the most relevant commitment
and of well recognized efforts. It is not simply a matter of
achieving substantial changes with and for women, as a first
stage, in the struggle for women rights. It must be promoted a
culture of integration of sex differences that reassesses the ex-
isting conceptions about gender, and that endorses this just
struggle by changing the dynamics of male-female.
Schools, with their hidden curriculum, and family, with its
patriarchy and andro-centrism paradigms, need to wake up and
start visualizing the roles and stereotypes of gender, from a
more equitable bio-politic perspective; it is urgent to develop
the ability of questioning from the epistemological field, from
where gender differences were designed, created and legiti-
mized, in order to find alternatives or strategies for visualiza-
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