‘Gender’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Female’: Gender Minorities’ Exclusion in Development Education as Ontological Violence
This paper explores the intersections of gender, education, and international development, specifically noting the spaces in which gender minorities are either highlighted or discounted. It begins by providing a basic introduction to the history of conceptualizations of gender in education for international development settings as a way of foregrounding how the term ‘gender’ has become ubiquitous within the field to mean ‘female.’ It uses this background to explore both the invisibilization of gender minorities and the intersectional ways in which systemic violence is perpetuated against them. The sources analysed in this paper range from the past 20 years of academic findings from major journals across educational fields, Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals policy documents, and the GEM Report 2020 (which focused on gender equality in education). Because the explicit inclusion of non-cisgender identities in education settings is defined as a crucial tool in preventing violence against gender minorities (Meyer & Keenan, 2018), this paper argues that the decision to ignore and exclude gender minorities in international education development research therefore 1) contributes to the systemic forces of violence that they face and 2) is itself an act of ontological violence as well.