Home Economics in the 21st Century: A Cross Cultural Comparative Study

Yvonne Anne Neilson Dewhurst, Donna Pendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Downloads (Pure)


A feature of the 2008 International Federation of Home Economics (IFHE) World Congress is the launch of the IFHE Position Statement – Home Economics in the 21st Century (IFHE, 2008) — hereafter referred to as he21C. This paper reports on findings of a survey administered to investigate home economics teachers’ level of agreement with the propositions in the Position Paper using extracts taken verbatim as triggers, along with general questions about home economics. The survey was administered to a convenience sample in Scotland and in Australia, with a total of 264 responses. A cross-cultural comparison of findings identifies similarities and differences, revealing a high level of agreement with many of the extracts taken from the Position Paper, both within and across cultures. The overwhelming majority (93%) concur that home economics is multidisciplinary and located within the human sciences, while 96% of respondents agree that home economics prepares individuals for their personal and professional lives. However, several aspects were clearly contentious, including the lack of agreement about the retention of home economics as the preferred name of the field. These findings offer valuable insights into the degree of connection the IFHE Position Paper makes with home economics teacher professionals, potentially highlighting the areas where most focus is required for development work by the IFHE. The clearly contentious issues relate to the stance in he21C to focus on re-branding and repositioning as well as renaming the profession, presenting a strategic challenge for the Institute. The survey findings and subsequent discussion lead to the recommendation that IFHE extend the present research to Africa, Asia and the Americas and use the findings to build professional learning communities in all five (including Europe and the Pacific) IFHE regions to reculture
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-87
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Home Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventHorizons in Home Economics - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 8 Jan 200711 Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

This article is reprinted with permission from the International Federation for Home Economics, August 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Home Economics in the 21st Century: A Cross Cultural Comparative Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this