Author: Bethany Spencer
Posted: 07 Jul 2016
Estimated time to read: 4 mins
The fight for gender equality has come a long way, but we’re not there yet and it’s important we educate our students on this.
This week a remake of the Spice Girls’ women empowering video to Wannabe has taken the internet by storm. The famous video has been remade to bring the attention back to girl power and take it to the next level. Made by Project Everyone, the video aims to help to push the UN’s Global Goals relating to inequalities faced by women and girls around the world.
The remake includes stars from around the world including, India, Nigeria, South Africa, UK, the USA and Canada and calls for an end to violence against women and child marriage, quality education for all girls and equal pay for equal work.
We have come a long way in bringing attention to gender inequalities and giving women the same rights as men, but the fact of the matter still remains that we have yet to achieve equality for men and women, and this video highlights some of challenges we have left to face. The video asks for everyone to take a picture showing what they really, really want, using the hashtag #WhatIReallyReallyWant so they can take your message with them to the UN in September.
The issue of gender inequality is one that is extremely important to educate our students on - to ensure that they don’t feel restricted, or compelled to conform to norms expected of them. By bringing attention to gender bias, it makes students aware that such a thing exists and it is something they can go against. We are fortunate to live in a world where high profile campaigns such as this one, help to shed light on the issues faced by so many around the world and we can use these in lessons to help educate our students.
Using this video as a resource when discussing gender inequalities around the world can help to spark debate surrounding what actions still need to be done, and why such issues are still prevalent in the 21st century.
This Girl Can
The lottery funded campaign for ‘This Girl Can’ shows women of all shapes and sizes getting involved in sports. Using this video in class can help to empower your students to not feel body conscious, and to promote a healthy body image in young girls. It can also be used to spark a debate surrounding why this advert is so groundbreaking when the women on screen are normal women and girls, and the role the media has to play in distorting young girls’ images of themselves.
Like A Girl
Always created the ‘Like A Girl’ campaign to highlight the loss of confidence and confusion girls go through during puberty and how ‘like a girl’ is seen as derogatory - this video is perfect for a starter activity asking the question ‘what does ‘like a girl’ mean to you/what images spring to mind when we say ‘like a girl’?’. This can instigate a discussion around the negative connotations of being female and lead onto how we can change these perceptions and the great things associated with being a girl.
Malala is an inspirational role model to introduce to students regarding the work she’s done in enabling girls to receive an education. Bringing attention to Malala’s story will also help to raise awareness of how girls and women are viewed in countries outside of our own, and the actions that can be taken to help raise awareness of the inequalities, why it is so important we fight for gender equality and what we can do to support them.
The HeforShe movement, created by UN Women, aims to raise awareness and create a movement that will unify people of all genders to become advocates for gender equality and make certain that everyone is aware of how we will benefit from equality. Exposing our students to movements such as this can help to emphasise the scale of the problem at hand and encourage them to think differently about gender equality.
There is a significant difference in the amount of girls pursuing STEM subjects and careers in STEM which are predominantly male dominated. It is our duty as educators to encourage more girls to get involved in these fields, and to let young women believe that they are capable of everything. Stemettes is an organisation that encourages this through hackathons, summits and the opportunity to speak to inspirational women in STEM. You can help encourage getting more female students to become involved in STEM subjects by exposing them to organisations such as this. For more ideas how you can encourage this at your schools read our blog on Getting Girls into Tech.