The politics of preparation for parenthood
The focus of this study is preparation for parenthood in U.K. secondary schools in the decade of the 1970s. During this period it was suggested that cycles of deprivation are set up by inadequacies in parenting, resulting in a range of social problems, and preparation for parenthood was supported as a means of breaking this cycle. The study explores relevant educational policy in the U.K. between the second world war, and the end of the 1970s, and the views of teachers and pupils involved in preparation for parenthood. Methods have involved semi-structured interviews, reviews of literature and policy, and discourse analysis. The theoretical perspective used is a feminist one. A number of questions are considered, including why preparation for parenthood became popular in the 1970s; why the call for this curriculum is sustained even though girls express knowledge and commitment in relation to future parental responsibilities; and what is the likely influence on the adult lives of girls of involvement with this aspect of schooling. In'addition there is a consideration of gender divisions, how these relate to preparation for parenthood, and also how the personal views of teachers might influence this aspect of their work. The role of the state, and of educational policy, is explored and the possibility is raised that the preparation for parenthood curriculum might contribute to the creation or maintenance of the deprivation that it sets out to oppose.