Teachers encouraged to confront sexism in schools

Written by Tom Freeman on 24 August 2016 in News

Sexism and misogyny "thriving" in Scotland's schools and colleges, according to a new report for the EIS

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Teachers are being encouraged to confront sexism and misogyny in Scotland’s schools, which girls and women face on a daily basis, by teacher’s union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).

According to the report ‘Get it Right for Girls’, published later today, misogyny remains commonplace within schools and during the early years of a child development.

As well as the immediate dangers of bullying and intolerance, often aired on social media, the report highlights the long term impact on women and society as a whole.


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Often this takes the form of a “dismissive” attitude and stereotyping which prevents girls from succeeding or opting to take traditionally ‘male’ subjects, such as science and technology.

It follows yesterday’s report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies which show women are paid on average 18 per cent less than men, with a persistent pay gap among more educated men and women.

‘Get it Right for Girls’ offers teachers approaches to challenge and address such attitudes and behaviours.

As well as intervening these include holding assemblies specifically on the issue, encouraging girls in subject choices and maintaining consistent approaches across staff.

The EIS also says educational establishments require more support to be gender inclusive.

EIS campaigner Mary Matheson said casual use of misogynistic language in the media had a direct impact in schools, where it was "thriving".

“Whether used knowingly or as a means of identifying with the ‘in crowd’, the attitude it promotes among the perpetrators and the impact it has on the targets can be both longlasting and serious,” she said.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said sexist language and behaviour was “unacceptable” in schools.

“Whilst educational establishments cannot eradicate the misogyny which exists in our society, they can and do play a vital role in challenging it; they do so by promoting a culture of equality and respect, in which all children and young people are able to flourish and no-one is limited by their gender,” he said.

The report was welcomed by Emma Ritch, executive director of feminist organisation Engender.

“Attempts to encourage girls to consider taking male-dominated subjects, prepare for non-traditional occupations or careers, or to develop the confidence to start their own businesses, are constrained by the sexist “banter”, sexual harassment, and sexualised bullying that many girls experience,” she said.

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