Niemeyer, Beatrix and Colley, Helen (2015) Why do we need (another) special issue on gender and VET? Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 67 (1). pp. 1-10. ISSN 1363-6820

The Journal of Vocational Education and Training last had a special issue on gender and vocational education and training (VET) in 2006. In the intervening 8 years, the journal has published 264 research papers, of which just 10 - that is, less than 4% - addressed the issue of gender in any substantive way. This is something of a disappointment, as editors always hope that a special issue will provoke increased discussion and debate in the journal about its theme as well as providing a focused resource. Is the problem that, compared to the effects of global labour migration flows, constantly rising youth unemployment figures or emerging skills gaps in an aging society, gender issues have lost their relevance as just one category of social inequalities among many others? This can hardly be the case, since it is obviously a most thorough-going and persistent one. Despite over 30 years of gender studies, and numerous policy initiatives to address gender inequalities, gender segregation persists in VET as well as in the labour market. Women still earn less, hold the majority of part-time contracts, tend to be stereotyped into caring and personal service work, and are largely under-represented in leadership positions. Is the problem then that there is nothing new to be said about gender and VET? We do not agree that that is the case either: gender injustice remains a central issue in VET and the labour market; and as the social, political and economic landscape changes rapidly in today's world, it is inevitable that gender inequalities are produced and reproduced in new and different ways. So we felt the need to call once again for a collection of papers dedicated specifically to this topic, and one that would reflect this evolution.

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