While gender has been an ongoing if sometimes peripheral area of interest for researchers and practitioners in language education, conceptualizations of gender itself have developed apace. This means that, unfortunately, gender is at times viewed in an outdated way in language education, resulting in oversimplification and unproductive generalizations. In particular, women and girls are sometimes simplistically represented as victims of gender bias in language textbooks, and of male dominance in the classroom. This picture is far from being the full one, does little, I would argue, to help female students, and may mislead teachers. In this paper I present a rather more complex picture. I illustrate some subtleties and complexities of gender in language education, and suggest some implications of research for educational practice. I also demonstrate alternatives for research into gender and language classrooms, showing both how the more familiar approaches can be fruitfully developed and how researchers can go beyond them. It is important that both researchers working in the area of gender and language education, and teachers in their practice, should be able to engage with considerations of agency, individuality and diversity, while not losing sight of the still-important notions of disadvantage and of gender itself.