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.

E320 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:34:33

What are women's studies? How to be a Stepford Wife or the opposite?

MrsLouisTheroux Sun 20-Jan-13 15:36:04

Someone's having fun today! Feeling a bit lonely, frustrated and bored today OP?

HappyAsASandboy Sun 20-Jan-13 15:36:57

Probably for the same reason 'men's studies' aren't part of the curriculum hmm

kinkyfuckery Sun 20-Jan-13 15:38:58

What's women's studies?

MrsLouisTheroux Sun 20-Jan-13 15:39:03

<shivers> Imagine 'men's studies'.

Jazzicatz Sun 20-Jan-13 15:40:48

It used to be women's studies, then in the 1990's got changed to gender studies, and now even that's been cut and very few places run courses on it.

WhatchuTalkinBoutPhyllis Sun 20-Jan-13 15:41:11

Do i have to spell it out hmm

e ar...

f e m i n i s m

That better

FeistyLass Sun 20-Jan-13 15:44:24

Possibly because every subject includes the contribution that women have made hence they don't need to ghetto-ise it into a subject of its own (which only some people would choose and hence would lessen its impact and importance).

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Jan-13 15:44:42

It gets covered in varying ways in both history and English courses. Particularly English in 6th forms. Or it was when I was attending one 6 years ago.

thegreylady Sun 20-Jan-13 15:48:55

which curriculum?
Anything which separates women from men is sexist in the extreme, women dont need 'studies' as a separate thing,respect/equality etc comes from a social acceptance and accountability plus a good dollop of commonsense.
Militant feminism made women a laughing stock imho.

Women's Studies!

I remember seeing that in my Uni prospectus in 1997. It was only 6 hours a week...presumably cos the rest of the week would be spent cleaning and ironing?

manicinsomniac Sun 20-Jan-13 16:12:46

because it's a bit mickey-mousey?

Fakebook Sun 20-Jan-13 16:13:44

Because its boring?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 20-Jan-13 16:16:16

Who would take it?
Who would teach it?
Where exactly would it fit?

TheFallenNinja Sun 20-Jan-13 16:18:06

Because nobody would ever agree the content

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 20-Jan-13 16:20:26

because we're sinking under the weight of the curriculum as it is?

grimbletart Sun 20-Jan-13 16:22:08

Because learning to read, spell, do sums, history, geography, science etc. are what school is for.

All girls need to know is that they have the right to control their own lives and tell anyone else who says different to fuck off.

Sirzy Sun 20-Jan-13 16:24:07

Why would anyone think teaching about just one sex was a good thing? Do we really want to encourage sexism?

manicbmc Sun 20-Jan-13 16:24:17

Gender issues are already well covered in schools.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 20-Jan-13 16:26:15

The posts on this thread are making me want to kill myself.

Bunbaker Sun 20-Jan-13 16:28:41

Because the Russel Group universities would regard it as a "soft option" as it isn't an academic subject. Feminism is covered in history anyway. The suffragettes was my favourite topic in history.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Jan-13 16:32:21

i dont think there such a topic as wimmins studies.is a socialsciencetastic construct
there is good and bad representation and content
good curriculum reflects the impact of men and women

"Probably for the same reason 'men's studies' aren't part of the curriculum"

We don't need Men's studies, every history book details the achievements and ideas of "men".

It is only when you take a Women's Studies group, you realise how women have been cut out of history.

However, whilst i think that this subjects are excellent for raising female self esteem, to counter act the messages that come through the media around body image, i think that they should be confined to specific groups and not delivered in mixed schools, the audience has to be interested.

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

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 16:37:59

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]

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

scottishmummy grin at "joint honours in arse gazing"

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

RME classes can quite often study it.

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.

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 06:42:55

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!

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.

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.

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.

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