Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sexism In Schools | #SpeakUp

Sexism In Schools | #SpeakUp gender equality feminism feminist blogger lifestyle
You guys know that I am a proud feminist. One of the things I will not stand for is sexism. Sexism doesn't just treat girls unfairly; boys can also be subjected to sexism. This is not right and needs to be resolved. There are many different industries that are sexist, but do you know who the biggest culprit is? Schools! Yep, that's right! The place where you spend the most crucial 11 years of your life. 

Sexism is so damaging, to both boys and girls especially when they are young, vulnerable and susceptible to societies expectations and perceptions of what they should look like, say and do. I really think schools need to start realising that sexism is a massive problem within many primary and secondary schools right across the country, and they need to begin to rethink the ways they teach and support these young children, as well as implementing strategies to stop sexism being such a problem in the future.  

There are so many ways schools are sexist, but luckily I am not the only one who has noticed this problem. For today's #SpeakUp Ashleigh is going to be sharing with us five areas of school which she has noticed are sexist. I feel so passionately about this subject as well, in italics, I have added some comments from my personal experiences. I hope you enjoy this post and can relate to some or all of the points mentioned the post. That's a lie; I hope you don't relate to the points because I want more schools not to be sexist with the way they plan and teach young individuals, both boys and girls. 


I have been in the education system in the UK for about 13 years now, and through the years, and so for the #SpeakUp project that Nicole is currently running, I decided I would draw on this experience to talk about sexism in schools.

Sexism in schools is quite subtle, and some of these things are going to be more about understanding needs than sexism, but here goes nothing.

1) Toilets
Not so much the toilet usage, but more asking to go to the toilet in lessons. Female teachers tend to be a little more lenient, but I have had a few male teachers who have refused to let me leave lessons to go to the toilet. I hate to say that sometimes, as a female, it is sometimes incredibly necessary to go to the toilet as quickly as I can, and I think teachers need to understand this.

I can completely relate to this! Though it's not just male teachers not letting girls go to the toilet. I had a female teacher, who hated letting boys go the bathroom in the lesson. Ok yes, they don't have to cope with periods, but surely if they need the toilet, they need to go. It's a bit unfair to let them hold it in! If I had to go through this problem again, I would probably just tell them straight up I'm on my period and watch them shrivel up in embarrassment!  

2) Uniform
Need I say more? I want to be able to wear trousers! They are so much comfier than skirts and yet I am not allowed to wear them. Tights are a nightmare and and lot colder, yet we are made to wear them.

At my school, I was very fortunate to be able to wear both trousers and skirts. I chose to wear the skirt, which during my first year was a mini skirt but as lot's of the girls wore it so short, it looked like a belt, they changed the uniform. The skirt became pleated. It was very impractical and looked awful. The amount of times I got stopped by male teachers to pull my skirt down, was ridiculous. It wasn't that high anyway. Okay maybe it was, but it wasn't doing any harm. 

3) Sex Education
Boys are taught so much more about their own anatomy in schools than girls are, and during sex ed classes (or mine anyway), the class was very much focused on male contraceptives and hardly anything was said about the female alternatives

Sex education in general in schools these days is so poor, for both girls and boys. I wrote a post all about the topics that I think should be covered in sex education lessons HERE so I won't go into too much detail. But seriously, rape, consent, masturbation, etc. the list of things that are so important but are not taught about in sex education or in a balanced way is very long. If I have to learn how to put a condom on a banana shouldn't boys learn about what consent is and NO MEANS NO! 

Sexism In Schools | #SpeakUp sexism blogger lifestyle stop sexism

4) PE
Girls do one sport and boys do another. Through all of my time in secondary school, I didn't get to play football, basketball or cricket once. However, I got to do a lot of dancing; lucky me(!)

PE pissed me off so much in school. If I were brave enough, I would have raised a complaint. Why did the boys get to go out and play football, rugby, and basketball in all weathers while the girls had to stay indoors doing trampolining, cheerleading or Just Dance? I'm sorry, How is that fair? Also, we did have a mixed gender group for PE, but it was the bottom group, so basically the kids who struggled with PE. That wouldn't do much for the boys confidence now, would it? It just reinforces the importance of masculinity and correlation with sports, which must hurt boys. 

5) Careers
I was very much steered towards an artsy/literacy career by my careers advisor in school. To that, I say no. If I want to be an engineer, I'll be an engineer. If I want to study maths at uni; I will!

Careers education at my school sucked anyway, but I remember doing these quizzes and having to fill in my gender which inevitably always at the end said I should be a nurse, teacher or work in childcare. I mean, wow that's not sexist at all. I would love to work in IT one day or criminology, just because they are not female ordinated why should I be discouraged from trying. Just because I don't have a penis, it doesn't make me any less able to do as well or even better than my male counterparts. 

Thank you for reading my post. I do hope you'll visit my blog www.not-a-typical-teenager.blogspot.com, and I thank Nicole for letting me be part of such an amazing project.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

I hope you enjoyed both mine and Ashleigh's views and experiences on sexism in schools. I would love to know if you have experienced anything similar in the comments below! I'm always looking for bloggers to contribute to the #SpeakUp project, so if you want to write a post about issues that affect young people's health and wellbeing, don't hesitate to get in contact via email or on Twitter. 

You can check Ashleigh out here: Twitter | YouTube | Instagram
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19 comments

  1. I loved this post! At my school throughout year 7 to 11 I have never experienced sexism, we have done all sport boys do such as cricket and football which I think was due to having a pro feminist pe teacher. whilst my school also let us go to the toilets and wear whatever uniform as the rules were very lenient. This was so interesting how others found their school experience x

    katielou99.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. oh really! I think you have been very lucky x

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  2. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. So true! The fact that girls and boys do different sports at school, and that boys get more recognition for the sport they do. The team was unbeaten in matches this year and we never got mentioned xx
    blossomofhope.blogspot.com

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    1. oh really? That's shocking! Women sports and girls taking part in sports needs to be recognized and encouraged more x

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  4. Sometimes I read things about UK school systems and I'm left mystified! While I've definitely experienced teachers getting frustrated about the amount of students going to the toilets, I've never experienced a teacher, in higher level education, tell someone they were not allowed to leave. Most classes in high school, if we needed the toilet, we just left. And divided PE? And subjects divided by gender in PE? We could opt into the girls only PE class but regardless of which class you chose you did the same activities, whether it was dance or football. I'm mystified.

    Erin | Explore, Refresh

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    1. Really? This is all second nature to me! It's how my school was run and I know lots' of other schools are the same here in the UK! It needs to be changed x

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  5. This is such an interesting post and it makes me realise how lucky I was with my school in certain respects. My school had a girls rugby team as well as a boys rugby team and we could wear trousers or skirts of whatever style as long as it was smart. There's a private school in the city I work in now where the girls have to wear skirts right through secondary whereas the boys wear shorts in the early years then move on to long trousers. My view on it is that if a school is forcing girls to wear skirts, the boys should have to wear kilts.

    I don't really remember if careers advice was sexist but I don't think it was. Seems that I was pretty lucky.

    http://sirvikalot.wordpress.com/blog

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    1. Yeah, it does seem you were lucky! I totally agree with you on the point about the uniform x

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  6. School's are/were (I finished school 6 years ago) incredibly sexist, then we wonder why we have sexist ideas instilled into our brain without us wanting them there!
    Rachel // Rachel Ellen

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    1. I KNOW!!!! IT'S SO BAD! SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT!!

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  7. This is such a great post and I agree. I was lucky in some respects at my school girls were allowed to wear either skirts or trousers and all of PE was mixed but until that is true in all schools the problem still exists. Great post lovely!

    Ella xx
    www.inellaselement.co.uk

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  8. This was really interesting to read, and I can definitely relate to the points raised. The years in which we go to school we are at our most impressionable, and having such sexist ideas around us at these ages can influence us negatively for the rest of our lives. We should never have to be subjected to sexist ideals!! Thanks for sharing.

    Anna. X
    http://afabulousfeminist.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I know, this is why I am so happy Ashleigh chose to write about it for #SpeakUp! It's such an important topic that needs to be spoken about more x

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  9. Great post - it's really informative! We recently had a lesson on sexism as a part of PSHE which was great but literally the next day it was our school sports day and they were like 'girls can't sprint the 400m' ....talk about gender equality!! Lily x

    meetmeinmelford.blogspot.com

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    1. I know it's really shocking how bad schools can be x

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  10. I think this is one of the reasons why in some ways it's better to go to a girls' school. You're less likely to have these issues. I went to 2 girls schools and I didn't have these issues at all.

    Chichi
    chichi-writes.blogspot.co.uk

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