Finding our voices. Gender and sexual identities and HIV/AIDS in education

Case Studies & Research
171 p.

Of the 8,600,000 young people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, 67 percent are young women and 33 percent are young men (Young People and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity in Crisis, UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO, 2001). The Girls' Education Programme recognises 'gender' as the features associated in specific cultures with masculinity and femininity, and acknowledges that not all societies and cultures share the same ideas of what it means to be male or female. This book provides ample evidence of how boys and girls are encouraged to identify with 'masculine' and 'feminine' characteristics and forms of behaviour in various communities. It illustrates how girls and boys construct their identities, negotiating, adapting to and resisting common articulations of masculinity and femininity. The book comprises three parts. In Part One, the authors provide details of how the research came about, its aims, methods used, and how the researchers were trained. Part Two presents findings organised around 10 interconnected topics. These focus on 1) the ways young people present themselves to our researchers, 2) their identifications as particular boys and girls, 3) messages communicated about gender and sexuality at school and at home, 4) boys' problems and girls' problems 5) possibilities and impossibilities of friendships between girls and boys, 6) experiences, fantasies and views regarding girlfriend/boyfriend relations, 7) age - gender hierarchies and sugar daddy relations, 8) sexual harassment, 9) gendered physical violence, including corporal punishment, and 10) identifications with modernity or tradition. Part Three, key issues based on the findings are highlighted, and based upon these, the authors make suggestions for future practice.

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