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Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925



The social justice teaching theory describes how teachers can transfer equality attitudes to their students. According to this theory, teachers are important role models in the political socialization process. Starting from an unequal disposition of equality attitudes between boys and girls, this article analyses how teachers can bring equality to the classroom by compensating for different attitudes on the topic of gender equality. We first discuss how teachers can influence equality attitudes, comparable to the influence by parents’ socialization. Second, we assess whether teachers can compensate for differences in equality attitudes. Parallel to the evidence from studies on parental socialization, we expect teachers with better student–teacher relationships in particular to be able to transfer equality attitudes better. For the analyses, we use the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), an important study of 14-year-olds’ civic knowledge, attitudes and engagement. We use data from seven European countries and the Greek part of Cyprus (1160 schools and 24,087 students). To take the multilevel structure of this data into account, the analysis included a multilevel analysis (MLwiN). As expected we found a positive association between student–teacher relationships and equality attitudes. We also find that a good student–teacher relationship can compensate for attitudinal differences. By assessing adolescents’ equality attitudes, we conclude that teachers can close an attitudinal gender gap.


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