This article reports on an EU-funded project conducted in Greece, Portugal, England and Wales. Data were collected from male and female student teachers using surveys, interviews and focus groups. The project investigated their understanding of citizenship and the role of men and women in public and private life. Pateman's (1988) concept of a sexual contract was used to discover how student teachers understood changing relations between men and women. Young professionals in each country had relatively similar representations of the public sphere, which was seen as a distant sphere in which masculine power was unchallenged. The tension between power and femininity was articulated differently by men and women. Cross-national comparisons revealed how women in different European countries struggle (albeit in different ways) over gender relations in family Life and in everyday social contexts. Although gender relations are changing, the primary context for female citizenship is still predominantly the family. The sexual contract remains therefore a key theme to be considered in relation to the education of citizens.
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