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Girls should come up: gender and schooling in contemporary Bhutan

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The dissertation is based on 15 months of ethnographically-informed qualitative research at a liberal arts college in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. It seeks to provide a sense of daily life and experience of schooling in general and for female

The dissertation is based on 15 months of ethnographically-informed qualitative research at a liberal arts college in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. It seeks to provide a sense of daily life and experience of schooling in general and for female students in particular. Access to literacy and the opportunities that formal education can provide are comparatively recent for most Bhutanese women. This dissertation will look at how state-sponsored schooling has shaped gender relations and experiences in Bhutan where non-monastic, co-educational institutions were unknown before the 1960s. While Bhutanese women continue to be under-represented in politics, upper level government positions and public life in general, it is frequently claimed at a variety of different levels (for instance in local media and government reports), that Bhutan, unlike it South Asian neighbors, has a high degree of gender equity. It is argued that any under-representation does not reflect access or opportunity but is instead the result of women's decision not to "come up" and participate. However this dissertation will dispute the claim that female students could choose to be more visible, vocal and mobile in classrooms and on campus without being challenged or discouraged. I will show that school is a gendered context, in which female students are consistently reminded of their "limitations" and their "appropriate place" through the use of familiar social practices such as teasing, gossip, and harassment. Schooling, particularly in developing nations like Bhutan, is usually implicitly and uncritically understood to be a neutral resource, often evaluated in relation to development aims such as creating a more educated and skilled workforce. While Bhutanese schools do seem to promote new kind of opportunity and new understandings of success, they also continue to recognize, maintain and reproduce conventional values around hierarchy, knowledge transmission, cooperation (or group identity) and gender norms. This dissertation will also show how emergent disparities in wealth and opportunity in the nation at large are beginning to be reflected and reproduced in both the experience of schooling and the job market in ways that Bhutanese development policy is not yet able to adequately address.

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2012

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The Belly Dancer Project: a phenomenological study of gendered identity through documentary filmmaking

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In this study, the researcher develops a documentary-driven methodology to understand the ways four women in the United States use their involvement in the belly dance phenomenon to shape their ongoing individual identity development. The filmmaking process itself and its

In this study, the researcher develops a documentary-driven methodology to understand the ways four women in the United States use their involvement in the belly dance phenomenon to shape their ongoing individual identity development. The filmmaking process itself and its efficacy as a process to promote self-understanding and identity growth among the participating belly dancers, are also investigated phenomenologically. Methodological steps taken in the documentary-driven methodology include: initial filmed interviews, co-produced filmed dance performances, editorial interviews to review footage with each dancer, documentary film production, dancer-led focus groups to screen the film, and exit interviews with each dancer. The project generates new understandings about the ways women use belly dance to shape their individual identities to include: finding community with other women in private women's spaces, embodying the music through the dance movements, and finding liberation from their everyday "selves" through costume and performance.

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2012

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Female Microaggressions Scale (FeMS): A Comprehensive Sexism Scale

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Overt forms of sexism have become less frequent (Swim Hyers, Cohen & Ferguson, 2001; Sue & Capodilupo, 2008). Nonetheless, scholars contend that sexism is still pervasive but often manifests as female microaggressions, which have been defined as often subtle, covert

Overt forms of sexism have become less frequent (Swim Hyers, Cohen & Ferguson, 2001; Sue & Capodilupo, 2008). Nonetheless, scholars contend that sexism is still pervasive but often manifests as female microaggressions, which have been defined as often subtle, covert forms of gender discrimination (Capodilupo et al., 2010). Extant sexism scales fail to capture female microaggresions, limiting understanding of the correlates and consequences of women’s experiences of gender discrimination. Thus, the purpose of the current study was to develop the Female Microaggressions Scale (FeMS) based on an existing theoretical taxonomy and content analysis of social media data, which identifies diverse forms of sexism. Two separate studies were conducted for exploratory factor analysis (N = 582) and confirmatory factor analysis (N = 325). Exploratory factor analyses supported an eight-factor, correlated structure and confirmatory factor analyses supported a bifactor model, with eight specific factors and one general FeMS factor. Overall, reliability and validity of the FeMS (general FeMS and subscales) were mostly supported in the two present samples of diverse women. The FeMS’ subscales and body surveillance were significantly positively correlated. Results regarding correlations between the FeMS subscales and anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction were mixed. The FeMS (general FeMS) was significantly positively correlated with anxiety, body surveillance, and another measure of sexism but not depression or life satisfaction. Furthermore, the FeMS (general FeMS) explained variance in anxiety and body surveillance (but not depression, self-esteem, or life satisfaction) above and beyond that explained by an existing sexism measure and explained variance in anxiety and depression (but not self-esteem) above and beyond that explained by neuroticism. Implications for future research are discussed.

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2018