Gender and the national curriculum

Prepared by Sue Davis (previously Senior Policy Officer, Gender Equity Unit, Queensland Department of Education) with assistance from Kris McRae and Tony Cook.

Gender and the national curriculum


In March 1990, the then Prime Minister announced funding for a project to facilitate the development of school curriculum which was to be equally relevant to girls and boys.

In June 1990, the Australian Education Council agreed to explicitly include, as one of the terms of reference for the writing of curriculum statements issued by the Council, the principles and objectives of the National Policy for the Education of Girls in Australian schools.

The Gender Equity in Curriculum Reform Project was established. It aimed to ensure that national curriculum statements, profiles and associated resource materials:

  • avoided past exclusion of the needs, interests and entitlements of girls;
  • acted equally in the interests of girls and boys; and
  • contributed to achieving equality for women and men in private and public life, including paid and unpaid employment.

This project was based on the premise that the current curriculum in Australian schools was not (is not) serving the interests of females as well as those of males. This occurs in the following ways:

  • In the manner in which knowledge is omitted, selected, valued and organised, reinforcing a view of the world where males and their activities are depicted as the norm and central, and where women are seen as different, or ‘the other’.
  • In the way knowledge is generally ordered and organised for teaching and learning purposes.
  • In the way in which many schools and classrooms are organised, managed and resourced to meet the needs of boys more than girls.

One of the key activities of this project was the employment of gender equity consultants to work with each of the eight National Curriculum writing teams. As well as informing the development of the statements and profiles, each of the consultants produced a monograph which outlined gender issues within each of the eight learning areas. (These monographs are to be published by the Curriculum Corporation). To help ensure a consistent approach across the areas, the consultants developed a position paper which was then accepted by CURASS (the Australian Education Council’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee). The 1991 position paper Gender Equity and the National Collaborative Curriculum identified ways in which schools play a significant role in the construction of gender and dealing with issues such as language, sexual harassment, violence and self-esteem through curriculum.

The paper affirmed the National Policy principle that gender should not be a restriction on a boy’s or girl’s potential and ability and that meaningful change in the content and construction of curriculum would only come about if each of the following perspectives were/are explicitly addressed within curriculum developments:

  • Making all areas of the existing curriculum equally accessible to girls and boys.

This required first the identification of all the ways in which different areas of the curriculum currently exclude some girls and some boys, and secondly a consideration within the curriculum of how and why this has occurred.

  • Valuing female knowledge and experience.

This requires the explicit valuing in the curriculum of the knowledge and skills, ways of knowing, ways of being, and ways of viewing and relating to the world, traditionally associated with women, and serving the interests of women. This involves the development and inclusion of new aspects of curriculum as well as fundamental revision of some curriculum areas.

The effect of adopting this perspective is twofold: what is currently devalued and aligned with that which is seen as feminine will be given value equal to that which is seen as masculine; and both males and females will be given access to a wider range of knowledge and skills, and ways of being.

  • Critically examining social structures which are detrimental to women and girls.

This requires the inclusion of strategies designed to support students in developing an understanding of the beliefs and value systems which have allowed the present inequalities to remain entrenched. These strategies will assist students to examine critically and challenge the process of the construction of gender. Analysis and examination of the implications and outcomes of this process as it is presented in the many aspects of their own lives and cultures, including schooling, will form part of this process. This will require the development of different understandings of the relations between women and men.

Implementing these perspectives involves:

  • Considering where, how and why women’s and girls’ experiences, achievements and contributions to society have been excluded from both the ‘knowledge’ that is valued in society, and from the curriculum.
  • Writing into the curriculum women’s and girls’ experiences, achievements and contributions.
  • Using non-sexist language.
  • Developing and using contexts which are relevant and meaningful for girls as well as boys.
  • Including and valuing the full range of knowledge and skills within a learning area. This may necessitate, for instance, the incorporation of new insights and understandings arising from the findings of women’s studies and feminist research.
  • Including knowledge and skills that will assist all students to access a full range of post-school options.
  • Including as an important part of the curriculum such things as the development and nature of sexuality, the area of relationships, family and household management.
  • Incorporating within traditional disciplines new insights and understandings of such issues as the construction of gender, sexual harassment and violence. Teaching about issues which broaden girls’ and boys understanding of the past and present social expectations of women and men.
  • Providing girls and boys with the skills to enable them to understand and unravel the ways in which social and political structures, including the curriculum, act to maintain and support the dominant position of men in society.
  • Developing curriculum practice which supports and encourages girls and boys in not accepting discriminatory situations and which enables them to develop strategies to counteract sexist behaviour.
  • Providing curriculum which supports the development of individual and social identity based on broad, rather than narrow, views of what it means to be female or male.

The Arts

  • The arts are never neutral but are the embodiment of values, opinions and social constructs. The arts can be used to preserve and maintain tradition yet they can also be dynamic agents of social change.
  • Educations need to examine the social conditions/context in which art works were/have been produced.
  • Girls participate in higher numbers in arts education but more men participate in the paid arts workforce.
  • The arts are regarded as more ‘feminine’ subjects and are not as highly valued in the hierarchy of knowledge as subjects which are popular with boys.
  • Boys don’t participate in the arts because they don’t see them as relevant or important to careers, not because the curriculum is exclusive of male experiences. Boys need to be exposed regularly to arts activities from earliest levels of schooling to break down gendered notions of appropriate subject choice.
  • Boys who do arts tend to be harassed by other boys outside the class but supported within the class setting.
  • Some arts subjects/activities are perceived as more feminine than others (eg. dance, playing the recorder, water colours, interior design).
  • The concept of genius, giftedness etc. has historically been defined in masculine terms (strong, independent, tortured individual working away in the ‘garret’) and used to exclude women’s practices.
  • Universal notions of good art tend to value art that is predominantly white, male and anglo-European.
  • Representations of women in ‘great art’ need to be examined in the same ways that popular cultural texts are.
  • We need to ask not only “where were the great women artists” but also if women couldn’t become artists “why not”?
  • The skills evidenced in traditional women’s arts and crafts (quilting, embroidering, tapestry, folk dancing, domestic arts) should be recognised and valued in the curriculum.
  • Students should be encouraged to analyse gender roles and positioning of women in plays, films, dances, art works.
  • Need to include contemporary art in curriculum to include works by women, feminist art etc.
  • Ensure girls develop skills in technology areas eg. theatre lighting, computer graphics etc. and areas that require physical skills and stamina eg. sculpture, lifts in dance, playing brass instruments etc.
  • Work on post-school options needs to include arts related employment, volunteer and amateur work, and affirm the relevance of the arts to other kinds of careers (eg. engineering).


  • Language is not static, nor is it a neutral vehicle for conveying true meaning.
  • Certain forms of English are seen as ‘correct’ (standard Australian English). This disadvantages those with little or less experience of this kind of English (eg. many NESB students and some A/TSI students).
  • Language plays a powerful role in shaping our view of the world.
  • Students need to explore what selection criteria determine whether a work enters the literary canon. Great works are predominantly about men and male experiences and perspectives.
  • Men have generally been the writers of the more powerful discourses (history, science, philosophy, law, as well as poetry and drama). Women are responsible for forms of lower status (letter writing, diaries, genealogical records and novels).
  • Texts should be analysed to identify whose values, attitudes and experiences are presented and valued.
  • Texts attempt to position the reader who may resist or access. There is no one reading guaranteed.
  • More girls enjoy English and achieve more highly. Post school success in related jobs is more likely to be male. (Success at school is about being neat, quiet, reading, writing and reflecting, not untidiness, interrupting, contradicting, using equipment, initiative and leadership.) Writing at school is often a private and passive activity. Most careers in journalism etc. rely on other skills.
  • There is a gradual cutting off from non-fiction by young (primary school) girls. Many boys do not read fiction or value reading.
  • Teachers often have to adopt masculinist knowledge interests to keep boys interested.
  • Female knowledge interests and pleasures are derided and devalued (eg. romance novels). Some genres are valued more highly than others.
  • The media as well as literature play a powerful role in constructing notions of appropriate male and female behaviour (woman as object, the prize in the story, the danger etc.).
  • Girls have few opportunities to focus on women’s writing—other ways of viewing, creating and responding.
  • Many women have been involved in autobiographical writing. Certain elements such as cycles in writing, connectedness often identified in women’s writing.

Health and PE

  • Messages of healthy eating patterns, nutrients in food, etc. that may be given in health and PE often do not take into consideration the complexity of the societal impact on the nutritional practices of women and girls.
  • Generally, boys aim to increase their weight and bulk as this is a mark of the masculine whereas girls are anxious to lose weight and bulk because thinness is a mark of the feminine.
  • Some girls’ participation in schooling is limited because they get so caught up with trying to achieve their aim of getting rid of every perceived ounce of fat on their bodies.
  • Girls’ enthusiasm for, and participation in, all forms of physical activity, including sport, declines rapidly during their high school years. Girls’ fitness also declines over the same period.
  • The type of uniform adopted for physical activities (such as the wearing of short skirts for sport) has, in many schools, contributed to the gender-based harassment of many girls.
  • Girls are often restricted through inequitable access to, and distribution of, the physical and monetary resources allocated to physical activities.
  • The school oval and the bulk of school playing space is the domain of the boys unless schools take proactive action.
  • Many girls are discouraged by the highly competitive nature of many school-based physical activities and others may be influenced by the violence associated with sporting images.
  • Many projects in the health area focus on ‘selling’ physical activities to girls and operate from a deficit model without recognising the complexities which affect girls’ participation.
  • Strategies that may be used to increase girls involvement in Health and PE include:
    • providing a variety of physical activities which do not require aggression and competition;
    • talking to girls and boys to find out what their needs are and what they see as health related issues;
    • giving equal value to sport and physical activities which girls are involved and interested in;
    • encouraging girls to wear clothing which is functional and comfortable and does not emphasise body shape;
    • ensuring boys are made aware of gender issues, the way their behaviour affects girls and developing strategies for changing such behaviour.

Languages Other Than English

  • Languages Other Than English (as is English) are often viewed as neutral—the way that all language and texts construct our view of the world (gender included) is generally not examined.
  • Many LOTE texts present overt and covert forms of racism, sexism and elitism, display dominant culture or stereotypes of different cultures. Differences are viewed as ‘exotic’, representations of both our own and target cultures are generally unchallenged.
  • Cultural studies associated with the teaching of LOTEs generally do not problematise femininity and masculinity and the ways they are constructed in that particular culture. The presence of feminist movements in most countries is not acknowledged.
  • More girls participate in LOTE subjects. More boys than girls get higher paid and higher status jobs in which they can apply LOTE (eg. as translators, interpreters, diplomats etc.).
  • Perceptions that students have to be talented to do well denies the huge amount of work that successful students (generally girls) do.
  • Recommended texts for LOTE texts show a higher representation of male authors. In texts more males are central characters (with certain dominant forms of masculinity represented). Women are often depicted in subservient roles.
  • There is a gender differential in terms of verbs used. Female characters—knit, cook, dance, clean, sew, type, shop. Male characters—repair, drive, earn, break, climb, jump, throw.
  • Gendered post school destinations represented in texts—in one text only six depict women (flight attendant, teacher, shop assistant, mother, nun, journalist) but 24 show men (including police, pilots, professors, terrorists, mechanics, the pope, camera operator, artist, athlete, sailor, inventor, shop owners).
  • Indigenous people’s views/languages are often excluded/ignored.


  • Females have made, and are making significant contributions in the field of mathematics which is somewhat obscured in a society that admits a history of traditional role expectations.
  • On average girls and boys do equally well in mathematics during the compulsory years of schooling.
  • As soon as it ceases to be compulsory, girls opt to study mathematics to a lesser extent than boys. Girls who choose to study post compulsory mathematics at senior level achieve on average as well as boys in the same course.
  • Where there is a choice of levels in mathematics courses, girls more frequently choose the lower levels thus limiting their choices in post-secondary courses.
  • Some researchers have found that teachers interact more with high achieving boys than high achieving girls. This occurs whether or not interactions were initiated by the teacher or student.
  • With respect to the curriculum and course structures, the following issues have been identified:
    • the perception of many girls that mathematics is irrelevant to their interests and not likely to be useful for their future;
    • the separation of the theory and applications of mathematics from the experiences of many girls;
    • a reliance on particular forms of assessment;
    • certain patterns of classroom management and interaction (Praeger);
    • reliance of competitive rather than co-operative learning;
    • classroom teaching practices, which in some cases include institutional sexism and racism.

  • Some factors that have been identified as impacting on girls achievement in mathematics are:
    • teachers initiate more academic contact with boys—even when girls and boys initiate the same amount of teacher contact;
    • teachers give more attention to boys;
    • teachers provide different feedback to girls and boys about wrong answers. Boys are told to try harder, while girls are praised simply for trying;
    • parents have higher expectations for their son’s achievement in mathematics than for their daughters;
    • boys are more strongly encouraged to take mathematics courses and to enrol in after-school and out-of-hours programs;
    • teachers treat gifted female students differently to gifted male students finding that they tend to criticise female students’ work more than that of their male counterparts;
    • teachers and students have limited awareness of the extensive application of modelling techniques in the social sciences which have lead to new development in mathematics;
    • girls express greater uncertainty about their mathematical performance;
    • they are less content working with concepts they have not understood;
    • girls are more likely to explain their successes as due to effort or luck while boys are more likely to attribute success to ability;
    • they are more likely to explain failures due to lack of ability;
    • the media tends to highlight female students’ dislike for, and poor achievement in, mathematics thus perpetuating a gender-related mathematics myth.

  • Contemporary research has suggested using the following strategies to increase girls and women’s achievement in mathematics:
    • a supportive learning environment;
    • early exposure to significant mathematics;
    • available female role models in mathematics;
    • classes in which teachers set high goals for all students;
    • expectations that girls are required to participate in development of particular skills;
    • same-sex teams or co-educational teams in which roles are assigned.


  • Society perceives and experiences science as an essentially masculine enterprise and associates it with objectivity, reason and the mind. This sets it in opposition to subjectivity, feeling and natures, traits often regarded as feminine.
  • Substantial numbers of women scientists have been productive throughout this century, yet they have been perceived only as “useful foot-soldiers in science, capable of carrying out the pedestrian laboratory routines that research requires, but lacking the creativity, insight and analytical prowess necessary for innovative research” (Namenwirth, 1986:21).
  • Such women as Rosalind Franklin (explanation of DNA) and Jocelyn Bell (discovery of quasars) have received little recognition for their work as a result of this perception.
  • A number of studies (Wood and De Laeter, 1986; QBSSS, 1985) have identified the following as some reasons why girls do not participate in science:
    • lack of interest in, and enjoyment of, what science curricula has to offer;
    • availability of a greater number of non-science offerings;
    • the perceived relative difficulty of science;
    • limited perceived career relevance for them;
    • peer pressure, parental influence and advice given by school counsellors and teachers.

  • Studies conducted in other cultures such as Thailand indicate that Western societies in particular ‘socialise’ boys into the areas of physical sciences. In Thailand, girls in upper secondary years outperform their male counterparts in practical skills, theoretical knowledge of chemistry and attitudes to science. The content of these courses are comparable with courses elsewhere. These findings help to challenge biological interpretation of sex differences.

  • Research suggests that:
    • girls need stronger conviction than boys about their ability before continuing to higher education particularly in mathematics and the physical sciences;
    • some girls exhibit “fear of success” as they experience conflict between images of femininity and intellectuality;
    • girls may see future family responsibilities and lack of mobility as incompatible with more prestigious careers in the fields of science and technology;
    • fewer girls than boys rate themselves as “good” in mathematics and science despite equally good marks as boys; a higher proportion of boys who do not rate themselves as “good” in mathematics still continue in higher level mathematics in Year 11 while girls who doubt their ability are more easily deterred;
    • learned helplessness is a characteristic exhibited by girls far more frequently than of boys;
    • at the end of Year 10, girls are more likely than boys to choose subjects based on interest than subjects related to particular careers (or their careers are not in areas which require a study of the physical sciences);
    • physical science qualifications are seen by girls as relevant to traditionally male-orientated careers. The cultural emphasis on women’s role as wife, mother and as primary care-giver leads many girls to conclude that science, as it is currently presented, is not relevant for their future.

  • Some methods of improving the participation of girls in science include:
    • incorporating experiences that girls and women are likely to have had into class discussion or the laboratory exercise thereby validating them;
    • discussing and exploring fewer applications of science to the military and more on social issues;
    • using more interactive methods and collecting first hand information, thereby shortening the distance between the observer and the object being observed;
    • using girls-only groups for discussing issues of importance to them and setting up girls’ focussed courses;
    • negotiating the curriculum, not only in terms of timelines etc. but also in terms of its content;
    • integrating cross-curriculum issues—literacy in science, numeracy in science, computing in science, communication skills;
    • incorporating into the curriculum new insights and understandings arising from the findings of women studies and feminist research.

Studies of Society

  • Studies of society and environment enable students to learn about the experiences of women and girls, including the various perspectives of ethnicity, class and culture.
  • Students are able to develop a detailed knowledge of both the achievements of women and girls and their contributions to societies and environments in both public and private domains. Within the curriculum students might also be encouraged to critically examine the construction of gender as it occurs in their own lives and analyse how gender shapes their own attitudes and experiences.
  • Within these subjects particular emphasis should be given to Aboriginal perspectives and Torres Strait Islander perspectives as well as those of people from different cultural backgrounds.

  • The major gender equity issues which need to be addressed in the Study of Society and Environment are:
    • The male-defined nature of the majority of the disciplines which contribute to Studies of Society and Environment:
      • there is often no recognition that the male experience is a ‘particular knowledge’ selected from a wider universe of possible knowledge;
      • dualisms of male and female; with public achievements often forming the basis of the curriculum.

    • The undervaluing of the ‘humanities’ in the curriculum and the community:
      • currently the disciplines clustering around mathematics and sciences are valued more highly in Australia than those clustered around the humanities;
      • the undervaluing of these subjects has implications for students in that all students may not gain access to the significant knowledge, understandings and skills which this learning area has to contribute to the general education of all students;
      • the differential valuing and perception of subjects/courses is most evident in participation rates for students and impacts on post-school options for girls.

    • Education about the world of work:
      • the difference between career and work needs to be defined, career refers to the sequence of an individual’s paid and unpaid work roles over a lifetime, work covers a wide range of productive activity, both paid and unpaid. It includes full-time employment; part-time, casual and contracted employment; family responsibilities; voluntary and community service; school study, further education and training; and cultural activities;
      • students need to consider why it is that women currently bear the major responsibility for unpaid work within the home including parenting and/or caring tasks.

    • Empowering women and girls to bring about social change to achieve social justice, ecological sustainability and democratic processes:
      • students need to be able to explore gender relations as they occur in their own lives and in the wider community;
      • students need to consider how everyday social practices constitute social structures.

    • Homogeneity versus diversity of women and girls:
      • students need to explore how and why it has come about that certain human characteristics are seen to be feminine and are associated with females, while others are seen to be masculine and associated with males;
      • students need to consider the range of factors that contribute to the construction of identity and investigate the diversity of the lived experiences of women and girls across time and place.

    • Investigations in Studies of Society and Environment:
      • students should be encouraged to react to the experiences they hear and read about, as well as exploring their own.

    • Supportive learning environment:
      • teachers need to develop classroom practices which reflect practices that are inclusive of the needs of all students and which don’t subtly give students messages which will cause them to restrict the positions they are willing to take up depending on whether they are female of male.

    Environmental Education

    • A view exists that females are very interested in the environmental area and therefore that there are very few gender equity issues to be addressed in the Environmental Education curriculum.
    • Environmental Education is a relatively new area within education and generally not included as a component in the curriculum of all schools.
    • Particular strategies to promote Gender Equity in Environmental Education may include:
      • when considering environmental issues and their impact on society ensure that their impact on both women and men is considered (too often when we use terms such as people or human we find that in reality we are only referring to men);
      • investigating the range of ways that both men and women protect and care for the environment at the local, national and global level;
      • ensuring that a balance of female and male role models are used as speakers and are presented in texts, videos, etc. These role models should show both women and men in active, caring, nurturing, problem-solving and decision-making roles;
      • exploring the meaning of the term ‘safe’ environment and whether it has the same meaning for women and men? Considering how can we make women feel less alienated and threatened?;
      • investigating the skills that women have which can be used in caring for and protecting the environment;
      • investigating whether men have similar or different skills;
      • investigating whether people’s attitudes, values and beliefs about the environment are related to their gender. Considering whether it is appropriate to have different attitudes, values and beliefs about the environment and the consequences of this for women, men and the environment;
      • investigating the use of female metaphors for nature and nature metaphors for women. Considering/exploring why this has occurred. Investigating the consequences of this connection for women and the environment;
      • making all students aware that they each have a personal responsibility to care for the environment and providing them with strategies to achieve this;
      • challenging role stereotypes that reinforce that only women are responsible for implementing environmentally sound practices within the home;
      • providing all students with practice in skills such as research skills, analysis of data, report writing, writing of submissions, public speaking.


    • Technology education draws on most curriculum areas, in particular Home Economics, textiles, Industrial Arts, Computer Education, Agriculture, Commerce/Business, Graphic Design etc.
    • The learning area is often defined in male terms. Public large scale examples of technology more likely to be discussed and valued.
    • Boys play and toys often help build certain kinds of knowledge and skills eg. natural and physical forces, notion and direction, balance, electricity. Girls play and toys tend to focus on domestic concerns, encourage small muscle, eye-hand co-ordination and attention to detail.
    • May need to have specific classes/grouping to ensure girls get access to computers, other technology.
    • Technological devices are generally seen as ‘tools’—cooking utensils, musical instruments, electric appliances, children’s toys are also technological devices, but not always included in technology studies.
    • The private world of the home and family is often not acknowledged in technological terms (eg. jam making, weaving).
    • Construction of gender—men seen as strong and capable, manually able and technologically endowed, women as physically and technically incompetent.
    • Studies need to include the use of computer technology in more feminised areas or ways eg. in music, or for group work, the use of technology for personal and social needs (eg. supports for disabled people), the aesthetics and beauty of technological design.
    • Need to examine the ethics of the use of technology (is technological progress necessarily beneficial?). Girls are often more interested in the context of the use of technology—understanding its purpose and processes (rather than wanting to pull it apart to see how it works).
    • Look at the impact of technology in different areas eg. in the home and on family life, during the industrial revolution the shift from cottage crafts to factories; transport and the impact on the development of cities and the mobility (or isolation) of certain groups of people (older women and single women from low SES backgrounds).
    • All students should develop skills in the use of new, old, simple and complex technology, relevant to the world of paid and unpaid work.
    • Girls have been encouraged to take up more masculine options, utilise masculinised technologies and career options, but there has been little shift vice versa. Boys often do not value the more feminine aspects.
    • Workforce application and labour market patterns can be examined by gender.
    • Work environments—both physical aspects (eg. unattractive, alienating environments) and human aspects (sexual harassment and ridicule)—impact on girls involvement in certain curriculum areas.

    Upon examining these perspectives in the current context, it is interesting to consider how well the perspectives (and the order of them) apply to addressing the education of boys and the notion of gender inclusive curriculum.

    The three perspectives described are very valuable for addressing issues for girls. However, they are premised on a notion of girls’ exclusion from a valued culture. In encouraging boys to focus on and value women’s experiences we are asking them to value things that many have regarded as peripheral and insignificant. In considering a way forward which takes into account the history of education of girls’ initiatives (and recognises the need to continue work which aims to improve the position of women in our society) and works towards addressing boys’ participation and outcomes, the following framework may be useful:

    • Facilitating an investigation of the ways in which masculinity and femininity are constructed through the curriculum, the school and society:
      • Many different entry pints are possible for initiating an investigation of the different constructions of gender, femininity, masculinity and the relationship between these. Through their own critical investigation processes students may then come to understand that which has been excluded and devalued and why. Some practitioners have conducted this work in single-sex classes or groupings where students may begin by investigating their specific gender experiences.

    • Valuing female/feminine experiences and histories:
      • If we wish to arrive at a point where all students are able to equally access the full range of subject and life options, then we have to find ways to move beyond looking only at masculinity with boys and to provide them with knowledge and experiences that previously they may not have been exposed to. This is not impossible. I have seen a class of English Expression boys happily reading and writing romance fiction at the end of a journey which began by reading action and war fiction. I doubt this would have been possible if they had started with the romance fiction. At a broader level, this includes the school looking at their practices and structures to examine if girls’ experiences and feminine areas are being equally valued (eg. parade announcements, school awards, expenditure on sporting and cultural activities, career education and counselling materials).

    • Encouraging access to the full range of offerings, experiences, ways of being:
      • When processes such as these have taken place, when a school has adopted an approach to gender equity which involves looking at the issues for girls and boys in relation to each other and not in opposition, then boys’ and girls’ participation in and experiences in all areas (including boys in the arts/home economics as well as girls’ participation in the pure sciences and manual arts) may be less differentiated.