Written by the intelligent young woman behind Feministrength.
Sexism in school? A matter we must stop silencing in attempt to avoid its possible complicity, and start talking and working with. As a school student myself, aged 15, I’m constantly faced with everyday sexism in the school environment. Schools should be a place in which young people are able to feel secure and have the chance to prosper in studies and as individuals; not to feel uncomfortable, vulnerable and possibly even ashamed purely based on gender.
Like any issue, for it to be resolved properly we must understand the core of the issue. The education system grows with an individual through their lifetime, providing a backbone to lives and enforcing key ideas onto the young person’s developing brain. If society is teaching young people, during this crucial time of character development that behaving with sexist mannerisms is acceptable or correct, are we really able to question why sexism is still so real? The fact we dismiss sexist behavior in schools is a major factor to this issue. The cycle of taught sexism will never be broken unless we break it at the start, through the education system which is enforced in schools. Nobody is born sexist; sexism is a learned behavior taught through media, religion, advertising, entertainment, families and the education system. Schools are not a place where sexism should be tolerated nor taught. Every time we witness or hear sexist remarks in the school environment without taking action or speaking up we are siding with the oppressors.
In school, I’m known as the “crazy feminist” or “feminazi”, for unlike others, I will not be silenced. I stand firm in my beliefs and don’t feel ashamed to call people out on their degrading and sexist behaviors; whether this being remarks from classmates or teachers. We must stop dismissing sexist behavior in schools.
In the UK, according to a report from Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committees, 60 percent of girls and young women aged 13-21 said that they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college within the previous year. This statistic proves the size of this issue, and that it is something we can’t handle as individuals, we need large scale support.
Another study in the UK by YouGov for the End Violence Against Women Coalition in the UK found that 71 percent of 16- to 18-year-olds hear sexual name-calling used towards girls at school daily or a few times a week. This is 71% either on the daily or very frequently. There is no time greater than now calling for change.
The more you learn of something, the more aware of it you become. As a student, the more I’ve taught myself the reality of sexism, the more I am seeming to acknowledge and witness it. I have begun to see and hear everyday sexism from classmates, teachers, and people in senior positions in schools.
Teaching in schools the concepts and consequences of sexism will be the first step to stopping this issue. An issue not been addressed and that’s proving such a barrier to women all across the globe. When children are taught and allowed sexist behavior at school there is a very high chance they will stay with these behaviors for the rest of their lives – throughout adulthood. This extends the issue of sexism across all age groups. The issue to tackle sexism is to start eradicating it from schools and to start teaching right from wrong at a young age. Here at @feministrength, I believe that with support and willingness to cooperate sexism is an issue we can eradicate. Join our amazing community of support and love at @feministrength on Instagram.