By Bethanie Ryder
After the ‘MeToo’ movement made the international spotlight, rights for women and equality amongst genders has never been so prevalent for our generation. With what seems to be an endless number of once-renowned individuals facing a number of sexual assault and harassment allegations, the safety and security of women has become a poignant concern which is demanding to be addressed.
Whilst a growing number of men and women are celebrating feminism and striving for progression, it is undeniable that patriarchal gender ideologies have manifested into most of our everyday lives; in some cases without us even recognising. So how can we eradicate these archaic notions that are living amongst us, even now in 2018?
Implementing activities based on feminist values in to primary and secondary school curriculums is an option. As we emulate what we see from a young age, it is significant that these ideals are taught and explored so that we can learn to understand what feminism truly is whilst we are still amenable and open to learn. Unfortunately, it is still common to hear about educational institutions in which children are told about these distorted realities – that certain jobs are only available to the boys and that girls still have the traditional obligation of running the household. If we are to see any changes in opportunities for the next generation, it’s our responsibility to administer the resources for them.
“If gender equality is formally put on the curriculum, it may not eradicate the major feminist issues in our society today, but it may, in the longer term, have a positive impact on attitudes towards feminism, and its importance in daily life.”
– Edie Jones, 2016
Although parents hold a certain amount of responsibility when it comes to teaching their children societal ideals at home. Teachers and teaching assistants have a major effect on their behavioural and cultural development. With school days averaging to around 6 hours per day, what students are exposed to within these environments has an impact on their decisions and attitudes (both now and in the future), so why are we not using this time to educate our children on significant topical matters?
It comes as no surprise that many subjects taught in schools are male-dominated. History lessons preach the work of Alexander Fleming and Thomas Edison, but where are the modules celebrating Rosa Parks, Mary Wollstonecraft and Malala Yousafzai? PSHE lessons in secondary schools aim to educate students and help them progress into individuals however, just using one hour of these lessons a week to conduct gender-equality based activities is a small change that will reap huge benefits for our society in the future.
It’s time for us to take charge to abolish these construed misconceptions and ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed. Let’s break the patriarchy together and give our next generation a chance.
For more information and guidance on how to introduce the topic into the teaching curriculum, you can visit this site here.