The human capabilities approach distinguishes between capabilities (a person’s ability to choose what she wants to do/be) and functionings (actually doing/being what she wants). When used to analyze gender equality in education, it draws attention to the nature of education and the extent to which it is equally empowering for girls and boys. This research synthesis examines the use of the human capabilities approach as an analytical framework for gender and education research. The approach’s emphasis on participant voice as a means of articulating what is valued in education highlights contradictions and similarities within a given community and attends to the way that the gender regime of the school characterizes the educational experience. This is particularly meaningful in relation to the views of student participants including children, whose descriptions of their educational values, goals and experiences are critical in understanding the daily operations and experiences of gender regimes in schools.

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