In this paper, we analyse the links between subjectivities as they are constructed through the intersecting discourses of gender and literacy, and we situate this analysis in the context of the current neo‐liberal social and economic order. We begin with a discussion of the background to the gender and literacy debates. We then describe what neo‐liberalism is and its implications for education, and provide an analysis of the ways in which gendered and literate subjectivities are formed. We introduce Certeau's concept of the scriptural economy and illustrate this with four stories about children writing. In the final section we discuss some of the research on gender and literacy in school and home settings. Our overall trajectory is to show the relations among literacy, gender and the economy and to show the intensification of gendered differences that is taking place despite the neo‐liberal rhetoric that says such differences are no longer relevant. Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis.