Participation and Learning Through the Lens of Transnational Comparative Studies

Gender Facets and Temporal Constraints


  • Sabine Schmidt-Lauff Professorship Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Helmut Schmidt University - University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Germany
  • Carmel Berendi Doctoral School of Educational Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • Meta Brečić-Ločičnik Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia



gender, time, temporalities, participation, adult learning


Participation in adult learning is shaped by “heterogeneous, complementary, antagonistic and contradictory temporalities” (Alhadeff-Jones, 2017, p. 3). Time is an essential, sociocultural factor, and learning needs and takes time (cf. Schmidt-Lauff, 2019). “Too busy at work” and “childcare or family responsibilities” (OECD, 2017) are the main reasons for non-participation in adult education. Time is a significant element in gender inequalities on the international level (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2020a, 2020c). This paper comparatively investigates how time, gender and learning are interwoven in adult education in Slovenia and Hungary. The analysis includes a first comparison of quantitative data and time-related policies. However, to do justice to the complex character of time, a triangular approach, using qualitative data collected in interviews with (non-)participants, goes beyond statistical description. The study aims to better understand the subjective experience of temporalities, while learning (considering stress and maturation, etc.). The paper seeks to raise awareness on the time sensitivity, for example, of struggling with temporal constraints when both caring for children and being a successful businessperson.


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Author Biographies

Sabine Schmidt-Lauff, Professorship Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Helmut Schmidt University - University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Germany

Holds the Professorship for Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning at Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg, Germany since September 2016. She is member of the University Senat Council for Internationalisation. From 2010 to 2014, she was chairwoman of the Division Adult Education of the German Educational Research Association, GERA (DGfE). Her main research interest is in professionalisation and professionalism in adult education, and international-comparative research on lifelong learning. A special focus of her research and numerous national as well as international publications is on temporal and time-related challenges for learning throughout the whole lifespan in a globalised and virtualised modern world.

Carmel Berendi, Doctoral School of Educational Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Adult educator and PhD student of Andragogy at the Doctoral School of Education, Faculty of Education and Pscychology at Eötvös Lorand University Budapest, Hungary. Her research focuses on the development of learning communities, participation in adult learning and education, especially in Learning Cities and Regions, whithin the context of the third mission of Higher Education Institutions.

Meta Brečić-Ločičnik, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

PhD student of Andragogy at Department of Educational Science at Faculty of Arts at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her main research interest is career counselling and guidance in adult education, especially in the light of social power relations and gender.


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