“Sexism has been described as the practice of domination of women. It is a practice that is supported in many different ways that are critical to our socialization into our sex roles, and therefore make this domination acceptable in society—through language, visual association, media representation, and stereotyping, especially on the basis of the mothering/caring role of women.” Sexism can be classified as important, as women are likely to experience it in different ways. This can be based on their social and economic situation within the family and in their jobs and can limit the way in which women seek to actualize their potential.
(Garrett Brown et al, 2018)
It is necessary to discuss sexism, as it is something that takes place every day. In this post I will be drawing on sexism in schools. In December 2017, the National Education union and UK feminist launched a ground-breaking report on sexism; stating “Its just Everywhere”
The report showed that sexual harassment, sexist language and sexist stereotypes are common in schools. Over a third of girls in mixed schools had admitted to having personal experiences of being sexually harassed at school, nearly one quarter had been subjected to unwanted physical touching of a sexual nature. Moreover, gender stereotyping and discrimination were noted as being witnessed daily by a quarter of all secondary school teachers.
This proportion was over a third in primary schools. The behaviours and attitudes are witnessed frequently (often everyday or ‘everywhere’) allows this to appear normal and acceptable for many young people. One teacher commented “It is the drip, drip, drip effect of minor sexism that causes the most damage”. Girls described how sexual harassment or sexist behaviour was “Just how it is” or that “guys think its okay to touch girls whenever they like”. Comments such as these are shocking and sad- and can have ‘profound consequences for children and young people’.
An independent article noted that 57 per cent of teachers admit to stereotyping girls and boys. The article focused on how women are under-represented across all fields of science, thus making up only 14 per cent of the STEM workforce in the UK. The article identified that in a survey consisting of over 8,600 young people and adults, more than 57 per cent of teachers admitted to having made subconscious stereotypes about girls and boys in relation to sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Furthermore, over half of parents admitted to sharing the same subconscious stereotypes and a further 54 per cent of teachers claimed they had seen girls dropping the subjects at school due to pressure from parents.
Throughout this post I have highlighted experiences of sexism in schools, whether It Is physical or mental attitudes towards females. The examples provided are real life experiences that some young females face daily. My experiences of sexism are very limited as I went to a girl’s school and do not recall having been treated a certain way. however, this is not true for a wider population. As females it is important for us to be aware of such issues and how to deal with it, as a whole or individually.
How to tackle sexism?
One of the key ways to address sexism is to simply speak about it.
“A key issue identified by both teachers and students… is summed up by the words of one secondary school teacher: we don’t talk about sexism” (UK feminist, 2017. Pp. 19).
More information regarding sexism can be found on this article- (the link will be provided below).
What are your views on sexism now?
1.Brown, G. McLean, L. McMillan,A. (2018) ‘Sexism’. Oxford University press. 4 edn
2.Uk Feminista (2017) ‘A study on sexism in schools- and how we tackle it’. Available at: https://ukfeminista.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Report-Its-just-everywhere.pdf (Accessed: 8th February 2019).
3.Thomas, S (2018) ‘Sexism is a problem in every school. Now we must take action’. Available at: https://worldsofeducation.org/en/woe_homepage/woe_detail/15798/%E2%80%9Csexism-is-a-problem-in-every-school-now-we-must-take-action%E2%80%9D (Accessed: 8th February 2109).
4. Pells, R. (2017) ‘Sexism in school: 57% of teachers admit to stereotyping girls and boys’. Available at:https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/sexism-schools-poll-teachers-stereotypes-boys-girls-stem-subjects-sciences-maths-tech-a7567896.html (Accessed: 8th February 2019).