1st Edition

Indigenous Women and Adult Learning

Edited By Sheila Aikman, Anna Robinson-Pant Copyright 2021
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    In contemporary educational research, practice and policy, ‘indigenous women’ have emerged as an important focus in the global education arena and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This edited book investigates what is significant about indigenous women and their learning in terms of policy directions, research agendas and, not least, their own aspirations.

    The book examines contemporary education policy and questions the dominant deficit discourse of indigenous women as vulnerable. By contrast, this publication demonstrates the marginalisations and multiple discriminations that indigenous women confront as indigenous persons, as women and as indigenous women. Chapters draw on ethnographic research in Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nepal, Peru and the Philippines and engage with indigenous women’s learning from the perspectives of rights, gender equality and cultural, linguistic and ontological diversity. The book investigates intergenerational and intercultural learning and indigenous women’s agency and power in the face of complex and dynamic changing social, physical, economic and cultural environments. The grounded ethnographic chapters illustrate indigenous women’s diverse historical and contemporary experiences of inequalities, opportunities and formal education and how these influence their strengths, learning aspirations and ways of learning, as well as their values, demands, desires and practices.

    Chapters 1– 6 and 8 in this book were originally published in a special issue of the journal Studies in the Education of Adults.

    Introduction: Indigenous women and adult learning: Towards a paradigm change?

    Sheila Aikman and Anna Robinson-Pant

    1. Situating learning in the context of sustainability: Indigenous learning, formal schooling and beyond

    Abeer Salem

    2. Declared ‘literate’: Subjectivation through decontextualised literacy practices

    Amina Singh and Dipti Sherchan

    3. Indigenous knowledge, skills and action: Indigenous women’s learning in the Peruvian Amazon

    Sheila Aikman

    4. Adult learning for nutrition security: Challenging dominant values through participatory action research in Eastern India

    Rama Narayanan and Nitya Rao

    5. Indigenous women’s perceptions of the Mexican bilingual and intercultural education model

    Ulrike Hanemann

    6. Exploring the informal learning experiences of women in a pastoral community in Ethiopia: The case of pastoral women in Karrayyu

    Turuwark Zalalam Warkineh and Abiy Menkir Gizaw

    7. Negotiating indigenous identities within mainstream community livelihoods: Stories of Aeta women in the Philippines

    Gina Lontoc

    8. Indigenous adult women, learning and social justice: Challenging deficit discourses in the current policy environment

    Sushan Acharya, Catherine M. Jere and Anna Robinson-Pant


    Sheila Aikman is Research Associate in the School of International Development, University of East Anglia, UK. She has carried out long- term educational ethnographic research in the Amazon region of Peru and specialised in the areas of gender equality, plurilingualism and intercultural education. She has worked in both academia (University of London and University of East Anglia) and international and national NGOs. She is a member of the UEA UNESCO Chair Team.

    Anna Robinson-Pant is Professor of Education in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, UK and holds the UNESCO Chair for Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation. She began her career in Nepal as a teacher educator, development planner and ethnographic researcher. Her current research interests are adult literacy, gender and sustainable development and the internationalisation of higher education.