Today my eldest daughter learned about gender stereotypes – using toys as an example – during her school’s morning assembly.
I would like to think that this email (that I sent to her teacher last week) had some influence on that content. I highly doubt it – but I’m proud that I stood up for my principles so that, hopefully, some members of the world’s latest generation might benefit…
“Dear Mrs S,
I’m sure you already know that March is Women’s History Month and that March 8th is International Women’s Day.
I would love to know what special events you have planned for the day and month. After all, with the levels of diversity in gender and race in fields like STEM falling, girls and young women need to see examples of female success more than ever.
Last year L learnt about space. She sang TIm Peake’s praises. He is not the first British astronaut. The first had a Phd in chemistry, worked as a research scientist and even developed new flavours for chocolate.
Helen Sharma was better qualified for the job and she was dismissed by public opinion. She now has 6 honorary doctorates and is considered an icon of science. Tim Peake is a chauffeur.
Ignoring her contribution to this field was ridiculous.
If you need study materials, I suggest you have a look at Amy Poehler’s A Mighty Girl. If the school really has committed to change, it should look at the concept of overcoming the deafening lack of intersectionality.
And that is my punt for International Women’s Day made for this year. If you would like, I would be happy to speak about this in the school. I write about intersectional feminism and women’s rights and I do the social media for a project that is designed to get girls into coding and will be speaking at an event on the day.
I can, also, be quite warm and friendly when required. Honestly.
Have a lovely week.
After all my efforts, L told me what her career plan is on the way home from school. She told me that she would only tell me – ‘because you won’t laugh, Mummy’. Apparently, she wants to grow her hair long and become Rapunzel.
Defeated and deflated, I said “um, great?”.
Amazingly, she had remembered an old version of the story that I told her when she was at nursery. In it, Rapunzel breaks out of her prison helped by the archer, Valencia. Both women are equally capable but need to work together to overcome their adversary. After their success, our hero chops off all her hair.
It’s a little win – but I’ll take it nonetheless.