Gender Inequality as Cultural Diversity Lessons From a Field School Program in Fiji

We describe an anthropological and interdisciplinary field school, primary involving female undergraduates. Our field program was conducted in 2009 and 2010 on a remote island in Fijian archipelago, in the context of a patriarchal society where gender avoidance is practiced. We had two broad objectives for this program: to conduct research on the understanding of cultural and marine biological resources; and to evaluate the effectiveness of the field experience in promoting anthropological and scientific learning principles. We summarize qualitative and quantitative outcomes of the educational evaluation of the student learning experience. We also discuss educational aims and the unique gender-associated challenges of conducting this program in a patriarchal cultural setting.