It is with alarm that I read the latest bulletin from the End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition – a group of ardent feminist organisations which unashamedly uphold the notion that boys are disproportionately advantaged by virtue of their gender. Proclaiming the support of the Education Secretary, it would appear that EVAWGC’s plan is to shoe horn into the curriculum, additional education for children as young as 11 on issues of rape, pornography and domestic violence (amongst other issues considered by the Coalition to be gender specific). This ‘fact’ sheet, it is headlined, is designed to fill in the gaps in sex education and is backed by the Department for Eduction. Does anyone else find it terrifying that our boys, already behind in performance in class, entry to University, health and wellbeing, lifespan, exposure to violence in the home and outside of it, are about to brainwashed into believing that their life experience is inherently advantaged in comparison to girls? Here’s a few choice points from the fact sheet on the reasons why such an approach is needed.
A whole school approach, including comprehensive SRE teaching as part of PSHE, is needed to support young people and prevent abuse through:
Challenging notions of male sexual entitlement;
Preventing abusive attitudes and behaviours being reproduced and taking root;
Unpicking harmful stereotypes that place responsibility on girls to protect themselves from violence and abuse;
Addressing the gendered environment in which young people form attitudes and behaviours and navigate relationships;
And acknowledging the scale of violence against women and girls.
The rest of the document relies upon research which has been disproved in some areas, which is assertion in others and which is set in framework of feminist analysis of women and girls being victims of men and boys. This clearly political context is potentially about to be fed to our children, clearly attempting to diminish boys’ developing sense of self and sexuality whilst enhancing girls’ beliefs that they are entitled to live in a world in which boys will behave as women tell them to. Inculcating our already challenged boys with a sense of shame is not what I call education. I will be writing to the Schools Minister on Monday morning to object to this and asking her to listen to people like Glen Poole from Equality4Men, (the global campaign for men and boys) – about the issues facing boys in schools. And how a real gender equality strategy, in which girls and boys learn together the importance of self care and mutual respect within a framework of balanced not biased facts, would change children’s lives for the better based on truth not a women’s rights agenda. I suggest you do the same.
The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP
House of Commons