ERIC Number: ED401384
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Oct-31
Gender Shift through Adulthood: Educational Responses to Changing Lifespan Roles.
Wolf, Mary Alice
An interesting area of adult development is "gender shift": the transition from the traditional life patterns or ways of making meaning that are associated with stereotypically male or female roles. One may experience the wish to fulfill those parts of one's personality often associated with feminine or masculine constructs not yet explored. Educators can provide holding environments that support experimentation of options to ease the transitions experienced by adult learners, respect an individual's emerging identities, and be willing to acknowledge their own gender biases. Despite a new sense of options and choices throughout the lifespan, ample research shows that gender roles have instilled lifelong personality characteristics. New roles are developed by both older men and older women: as men age and with the passing of the "parental emergency," men become more affiliative and women become more dominant. Transitions from one role to another involve social and psychological transition. Traditional ordering must give way to longer life cycles with several sequential careers or transitions. Curriculum to support developmental mandates for women might include courses in tax returns, investments, business, and travel and for men, experiences in story-telling and history, personal development, and spiritual development. For the adult educator, the creation of a gender-neutral learning environment is essential. (Contains 23 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (Charlotte, NC, October 31, 1996).