To wonder why women's studies aren't part of the curriculum?

(49 Posts)
WhatchuTalkinBoutPhyllis Sun 20-Jan-13 15:32:25

Was reading the barbie fanny story and it got me thinking.

noblegiraffe Mon 21-Jan-13 09:20:17

Well in Gove's new history curriculum it looked like anyone who wasn't a white male was being binned from the course.

Women's studies as a separate entity makes it sound like an optional extra whereas learning about women's contributions should be totally integrated into the usual curriculum.

SanityClause Mon 21-Jan-13 08:25:20

The thing about women's studies is that it is not just one thing.

It encompasses lots of areas such history, psychology, biology, sociology, English literature.

So rather than teaching women's studies at school, I think the National Curriculum should be broadened to include areas effecting women. Women's contribution to the sciences, arts, politics etc should be taught alongside men's, where possible, but it is also really important to ensure children are taught why there may have been no apparent contribution by women in certain parts of history, ie because they were not given the wherewithal to do so.

That's really bad. sad

And it becomes self-reinforcing, because later on, you get people saying 'but there isn't much women's history' or 'there aren't many books by women' and thinking that's why we don't study it.

I know people who did politics for A Level and never discussed and of it.

seeker Mon 21-Jan-13 06:42:55

Good point. But at least if it had a compartment there would be some reference to women's history in the syllabus. As it stands, my dd has just done GCSE in an all girl's school which prides itself on a long history of educating women- with not a mention!

Me too.

But yes, I don't see why that shouldn't have a 'compartment'.

But I think then, the next thing would be people saying indignantly that there's a whole one section devoted to women's history, so let's hope all the other 90% of the course doesn't trespass into that minority-interest area. hmm

seeker Mon 21-Jan-13 06:16:39

I think that, particularly at GCSE, history is taught in such a compartmentalised way that women's sufferage, for example, would fit in nicely. The Civil Rights movement is a specific topic, after all.

Sooo depressed by all the "what about men's studies?" knee-jerks, though.

OrangeLily Mon 21-Jan-13 06:09:17

RME classes can quite often study it.

Tee2072 Mon 21-Jan-13 06:06:10

It was certainly taught in Anerican high schools and universities in the 80s and 90s. No idea if it still is.

I think it's a pity too.

I love that someone posted on this thread that we don't have 'men's studies' - we do. A lot of history and English lit and Religious Studies is all about men. Even if you have teachers who are really clued up about teaching about women.

It is quite a common MA course, though. www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/course_guide/womens_studies.html

I think I wouldn't want to do it at school as a subject in its own right for the reason feisty gives, that it'd tend to ghettoize the topic.

seeker Mon 21-Jan-13 05:49:54

I do find it bizarre that there is no women's history among the many topics available for GCSE. It's possible to do a topic based on Jack the Ripper - but not Suffragettes, for example.

Xiaoxiong Mon 21-Jan-13 05:42:47

My DH teaches feminism (well, feminist theology, but with a good dose of regular feminism as well so the students have enough of a grounding). This at an all-boy's boarding school that usually gets a pretty bad press so it might surprise you to know teaches feminism to a good chunk of the 6th form.

It's a very popular a-level module and it's a real shame it's not taught at other schools. DH is also in charge of a series of general knowledge lectures for the lower 6th and has stacked it for next year with some great feminist speakers (more suggestions always welcome!)

I have a picture of a gun-toting Mary Daly on the cork board in the kitchen drawn by one of the boys as part of a homework project grin

OkayHazel Sun 20-Jan-13 18:00:41

I think it would be much more important to teach politics up until GCSE options.

Love, a politics student.

twostepsfromhell Sun 20-Jan-13 17:12:37

We had quite a lot of feminism covered as part of my secondary curriculum, in history/humanities. The school was/is quite a progressive girls' school in an urban area. It meant we missed out on some more traditional bits of curriculum though (don't remember doing much on traditional kings and queens of England or classical history). We also did lots of Black/Asian history as that represented a high proportion of our intake.

WildThong Sun 20-Jan-13 17:05:26

Used to be a Scottish qualification called PDA Women's Studies it was very social scientist orientated. Think about 3 people did it in 5 years so it was dropped.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Jan-13 16:53:41

Birds it is difficult not to learn about war from a male perspective when historically speaking...it was the men making the policies and going to war.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Jan-13 16:51:56

scottishmummy grin at "joint honours in arse gazing"

When i was in school in the 70's, can remember asking my teachers why women and children were not mentioned in the holocaust stuff we were doing. I was told that war didn't affect women like it did men, whereas Women and Children were the first victims.

War is often told from a male POV, for example.

The womens study groups that i have done ( just as a hobby), have been similar to the "Hidden History" stuff on BBC2, which should appeal to anyone who wonders how we ever got to the point where women were forced out of work and as main carers/housekeepers/second class citizens, even when it comes to religion/benefits etc.

It is a bit too involved and requires a bit of life experience for most teenagers to take in though.

Jazzicatz Sun 20-Jan-13 16:42:51

The idea that it isn't 'academic' enough makes me snort with derision. Women's studies is very much about feminist theory and how it is used to understand many different areas of study. Maybe if more of us understood about feminism then we wouldn't be living under such a patriarchal system.

pansyflimflam Sun 20-Jan-13 16:41:34

Just to let you know OP, women's studies is not about feminism. Not at all, feminism is an element of the subject there is a great deal more to it than that. You are showing your own lack of education to not only pose this question but then to explain it incorrectly. Dim.

Whyriskit Sun 20-Jan-13 16:41:29

I did a semester abroad at an Ivy League college in the mid-90's and took a Women's Studies course - Multicultural perspectives on violence against women. It covered things like fgm and mass rape in bosnia so wasn't exactly a laugh a minute but taught me a lot.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Jan-13 16:39:31

women's studies wasn't an option on my degree
more for the earnest socialist worker types I think
seeing they were only in 4 hours a week on their joint honours in arse gazing

LaQueen Sun 20-Jan-13 16:37:59

I blame Women's Studies for forcing me to have to plough through ' A Vindication of the Rights of Women' by Mary Wollstonecraft...that's 8 hours of my life I'll never get back [bitter]

It isn't just the suffragettes, it is things like Beverage taking the credit for the Welfare State. Female doctors etc not being given the credit for what they achieve.

LaQueen Sun 20-Jan-13 16:34:42

I recall taking a Women's Studies module at university, waaay back in the early 90s. It was a peace of piss really, and enabled me to spend my Friday afternoons in the SU...avoiding the ranty girls who got all impassioned and well, er... ranty about the subject during the tutorials smile

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