This article sets out to re-conceptualise gender equality in education quality. Four approaches to conceptualising gender equitable education quality are identified in the literature: human capital theory with a focus on parity and sameness for all; a human rights and power perspective, within which gender equality is viewed as transforming unjust structures; postcolonial critiques, which celebrate and recognise difference; and the view of development as social action for empowerment with gender intersecting with other inequalities. The framework is applied to an analysis of a programme of research on education quality, EdQual. The article maintains that for education quality at the level of classrooms to move beyond fairness of distribution of resources, to consider the nature of educational experience for boys and girls, requires a deeper questioning of the gender biased nature of schooling. It also indicates that education quality demands an analysis of gender dynamics in the wider social context of the lives of boys and girls. These findings have strong implications for large research programmes.
Comparative Education (2011) 47 (1) 45-60 [DOI: 10.1080/03050068.2011.541675]