Panel A.11 — Social, Gender and Origin-Related Inequalities in the School System: A Full Perspective

Convenors Patrizia Falzetti (INVALSI, Italy)

Keywords gender, gender gaps, migrant students, inequalities in education, early school-leavers


Education is universally considered as one of the key pillars of an equitable and innovative society. However, although much progress has been made, the education system is still a breeding ground for social injustice and inequalities based on gender, origin and family background.

Thus, the main topic of this session is the analysis of social, gender and ethnic inequalities in the school system.

Gender inequalities can occur in many ways, including disparities in access to education, in academic achievement, in dropout rates, in teacher expectations, and in career/university choice.

Origin-related inequalities are about unequal access to education, disparities in academic achievement and unfair educational opportunities that are often negatively influenced by their origin. These inequalities are the result of many complex and connected factors which could have a strong and a long-term impact on everyone’s life prospects. Families of migrant students often face greater challenges in accessing quality education such as limited access to early education services, nurseries and kindergartens, educational/learning resources. Students with an immigrant background may also deal with discrimination and stereotypes which may become manifest acts of school segregation, discrimination by teachers or peers, and limited access to advanced programmes or special resources.

Family background has a significant and meaningful impact on education, too. Students with a family background which can offer a rich environment with cultural and social chances (such as books, informal learning opportunities and emotional support) may enjoy benefits in learning compared to the ones whose families have limited resources or a low education.

Inequalities linked to a poor family background can contribute to promote vicious cycles of poverty and intergenerational inequalities. People who have educational challenges due to their family background will probably be more likely to experience economic distress once adult.

Educational and socio-economic policies play therefore a crucial role in making or softening origin-related inequalities. Measures, such as access to financial assistance programmes for education, the promotion of equity in early education and the adoption of anti-discrimination policies, can help reduce this disparity.

In particular, we will focus on these three key dimensions:

  1. Gender Inequalities: Despite progress in promoting gender equality, inequalities in access to education, educational opportunities and academic achievement between men and women persist. We invite researchers to explore the roots and manifestations of this issue.
  2. Inequalities Linked to Students’ Origin: Educational inequalities linked to ethnic or national origin are a widespread reality in many contexts. We welcome contributions in order to analyse the role of origin in determining educational opportunities and in proposing strategies to address these inequalities.
  3. Inequalities based on Family Background: Family background, including factors such as income, parental education and family background, can significantly influence educational success. We invite participants to explore how these inequalities can be faced thanks to targeted educational policies and interventions.

This Call for Session aims to invite researchers to submit their original studies, empirical research, theoretical analyses on the issue, offering important ideas and considerations on this crucial problem, highlighting the many dimensions and aspects of educational inequalities.


Guidelines and abstracts submission