So there’s been a LOT going on at my school over the last couple of weeks regarding sexism and gender inequality. I thought today I’d write a bit about what’s been going on and why we need to start seeing a change in the education system in the UK.
I’m currently attending a girls school, but because I’m in the sixth form we have around twelve boys. Over the last week, there has been rumour after rumour about “lists” that the boys have been making, rating the most attractive girls, the fattest girls and the girls in the year that they’d want to kill. The second I heard this I was completely livid. I wondered how they could think that something so misogynistic was acceptable, especially in a school dominated by girls. However, this wasn’t the first time that I’d had to challenge the attitudes of the boys in my year. I’d heard these boys justify the gender pay gap because ‘women have maternity leave so when you factor that in it’s fair’, and be openly anti-contraception, pro-life and pro-gun. After hearing all of this I realised that we had never been given any education surrounding these issues.
Throughout my time at secondary school, I have never received lessons about sexism, feminism, objectification, consent or any similar issue. I asked friends from other schools if they had ever been educated on these subjects, worryingly not one said yes. What is even more worrying is that when I researched this, I couldn’t find a school teaching gender equality.
What I found instead were shocking figures, stating that 37% of female students have experienced sexual harassment at school. Another 66% have experienced or witnessed the use of sexist language in school. Girls shouldn’t spend their lives thinking that being treated as inferior and objectified is normal. It’s essential that we teach girls why this
Schools have a responsibility to be doing so much more. Even after the situation within my school, our teachers failed to use the opportunity to educate us on these issues. We instead learn about these issues from social media and our peers, who can often be an unreliable source. I hope that in the future both the government and schools work together to deliver this kind of education. This will help to ensure that the younger generation grows up to be feminists, advocating respect and equality. Until then I hope that teenagers, regardless of gender, educate their peers the way that schools should be.