IntroductionThe feministmovement has enabled great change throughout all aspects of the world.
One inparticular change is the through education. The results of feminism have ledgirls to improve their ability to achieve in school, compared to boys. Despite certainfemale’s liberties being restricted in many parts of the world, they haveachieved immensely – which has caused a significant outcome of women being theprime example of what the new generation should resemble.
Nevertheless, women are stillconstantly associated with their “two worlds: mothers as academics” (Daves,Lubelska, Quinn, 1994, pg.29). There is somehow an overt conception that womenwill amount to the expressive role: the full time-carer, mother. Education iscrucial to us all, as it is a platform that makes one into a person thatcreates wonder in this confused world.
Unfortunately, for oppressed groups insociety, there is “always implications for the distributions of power” (Len,Walker, 1985, pg.111). There is a significant change still due to women of allcalibres. It is all a part of the work in progress which throughout this essay,I’ll be exploring how the sociological approach of feminism has resulted ineducational change and is yet, still creating that change.
Feminism: making educationbetterFeminism as an externalmovement from educational has given it many changes from how itused to be conducted. “Women’s traditions are directly related to themale control of education” (Spender, 1982, pg.14). As evidence shows throughouttime, men have taken over all forms of systematicinstructions, including educationitself.
Due to this, the freedom of women in education has been limited throughoutthe years. Nonetheless, the movement of gender equality has played a partfor these men to lack control in how women are learning today. Education hasimproved in the UK throughout the years, for example with the ComprehensiveSchooling Act in 1965.
This was a major stepping stone for females as itconcluded in girls being allowed in a ‘one roof’ system school. They were seento have the ability to be as smart as a male when going intosetting/streaming, for example. In the midst of 1960s, the feministmovement was taking its toll on different grounds. The movement included theissue of the ‘traditional’ role of the woman: housewife and mother. Women allover the world wanted to better themselves, it was time to “empower(ing)ourselves” (Daves, Lubelska, Quinn, 1994, pg.101). These sharedthoughts of female empowerment lead younger generations to exceed their ownexpectations. It was increasing their self-esteem and allowed them to thinkbeyond being a housewife.
A study conducted by a sociologist, SueSharpe, compared the attitudes of girls in education between the years 1970sand 1990s. During the 1970s, she saw that the girls were aspiring for love,marriage and babies. They were driven by the influences around them, whichperceived these things as essential for a woman.
This differed immensely duringthe 1990s, “sexist images have been removed from learning materials”(Webb, Westergaard, Trobe, Townend, 2015, pg. 55) – theinfluences were taken away and the girls were now looking towards jobs andcareers, in mind that education had to be focal point in order to get there. Thefeminist impact resulted in girls looking to do bigger and better.”Positive role models” (Byfield, 2008, pg.
85)were commencing within the classroom, as well as outside – for example “rationswith higher proportions of women in parliament” (Murphy, 2003). TheDepartment of Education in 2013 statistics results showed that “in total 80 percent of the school workforce is female.” Theincrease of women in educational platforms showed as an interest towards girlsalso.
They had immense respect towards the teachers and due to this, theirperceptions change once again as they began to improve, in comparison to boysespecially. This also played a role in changing girl’s ambitions also. Ratherthan the perception of “motherhood is perceived as an ongoingactivity which begins … a woman’s life” (Spender, 1982, pg.
85) – they nowbelieved if a female can be an independent figure and earn her ownliving whilst of teaching the next generation, they also too canbe whatever they wanted. Feminism has caused education to changeextremely. The idea of “girl power” (Ringrose, 2007) was and still is, reachingits element, “In 70% of these regions, the girls beat boys in maths, reading,science and literary subject.
” (Turner, 2015). The idea that women are doingbetter because of feminism is valuing the movement’s importance that is makingeducation better. 3 elements of feminismMarxism-feminism, amixture of the two-sociological approaches that include distress the inequalityin the world. These particular sociologists believe that education is helpingfemales stay oppressed, as it means capitalism works. “Unproblematised notionsof masculinity are embedded” (Reed, 2010, pg.
101), there are still certain elementsthat haven’t been touched upon. This includes the construction of what it’slike to be ‘lady-like’. Unnoticeably, girls are taught through secondarysocialisation/in education, to be passive and timid.
The idea of theideal student has been described with many adjectives as being ‘helpful’,’patient’ which link closely with the idea of being lady-like. Through primarysocialisation/in the family, girls are taught to have these traits in order tocreate the perfect housewife. She must perform her role quietly andattentively, as one would do in the classroom. Marxist-feminist believes thatthis not only constructs girls to stay like this for the good of the classroombut for later on in life. She is thus, practising to become the expressive role.This allows capitalism to work well, the woman staying at home and not lookingto earn money, whereas the man is the only breadwinner in the household.
Feminism cannot strive from this because it goes unnoticed that girls are beingtaught this and it is a form of their own benefit. Education has only changedso much because of the idea that it still benefits towards creating workers forcapitalism in the future.Liberal feminist’s concept of equality concludesthat through laws, policies and acts enforce ideal feminism in the world. “Encouragingpositive role models and overcoming sexist’s attitudes and stereotypes” (Webb,Westergaard, Trobe, Towernend, 2015, pg.
55). The idea that girls have beendoing better in school since the opportunity of Comprehensive Schooling 1965Act has begun this movement for them. Laws that include differences in theNational Curriculum and exam boards have also resulted in these educational changes.In the UK, coursework was introduced in 1988, a certain percentage of one’scoursework, plus the exam, would result in what grade someone would get. Theintroduction of coursework meant that students would have to sit down and dotheir work, it was their responsibility to hand it in on time and in somecases, find their own topic and research. This meant that girls were able to dothe act of ‘sitting down and doing work’ as it was socialised within them.
Figures from the National Archives Government website show that femalesachieved 5% more 5 A*-C than males in 1988 once coursework was introduced. Thelaw inputted meant that female4s were progressing more than males, evidentlyshowing the change a notion can do. Other policies like Girls in Science andTechnology in the UK and Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology forgirls provided by the United Nations have also diverted us from thestereotypical point of view that women only like and are good at the Arts andliterature.
It has become a guidance for females to be intrigued by otherthings, “equips them for the future” (Spender, 1982, pg.97).Radical feminism takes on a view morecritical of the idea that ‘change has commenced’.
“They emphasise the systemremains patriarchal and conveys the clear message that it’s a man’s world”(Webb, Westergaard, Trobe, Towernend, 2015, pg.55). Their radicalised viewpointpresents this with examples of sexual harassment of girls in schools done by amale figure. This shows the male remains dominant figure, as he is able to takecontrol of any said situation because of his place as a man and as an educator.In this case, “gender operates as … hierarchy” (Reay, 2010) – males still haveassertive roles which limit the changes to be conducted in education. Women arein an inferior position that is being maintained – radical feminists believechange is still due.
An example of this change is with single-sex schools,where girls are unaware and away from male control. Feminism for everyone?All feminists mainprospect is equality for the all the sexes. However, it has been neglected how feminismhas benefited boys in their education, along with girls from unfamiliar backgrounds. “Educationhas become feminised” (BBC, 2006) because of this, boys lack in theirachievement. The lack of male teachers, “boys don’t write romance”; “teacherhas been under pressure in the United Kingdom to devise pedagogic strategies toraise boy’s achievement” (Murphy, 2003), “no opportunity toconnect… with the curriculum (Byfield, 2008, pg.
76) – theserealistic viewpoints could be a major reason about why feminism doesn’t workfor everyone. Boys are estranged from benefiting from feminism. The female’striumph is the male’s downfall and this doesn’t agree with the notionof ‘equality for everyone’ that feminism pleads for.A major issue thatneeds to be tackled along sexism, is racism.
Women of colour don’tbenefit from being in an education system that prides itself in its “ivorytowers” (Daves, Lubelska and Quinn, 1994, pg.46). Being a partof two oppressed group, whilst being in a system that devalues you is astruggle that still needs fighting for. It is a place that “prestigiousgroups of wise, usually white, men” (Daves, Lubelska and Quinn, 1994,pg.
46) decide the future for women that have no remorse for. “Blackwomen must decide whether to become a part of the ivory towers”(Daves, Lubelska and Quinn, 1994, pg.46) – it is a world whereone has to become accustomed to. Internal factors in education also play a rolewith this statement, of becoming accustomed to a world of racism and sexism.Some may say learning about strong female leaders such as Queen Victoriahas made a difference in the viewpoint of feminism.
However, thefemale roles that are normally portrayed in the classroom are white women.Women of colour haven’t got a ‘martyr’ to look at, and if they do soshe is compelled to being based on a topic of slavery, forexample. Lower-class females also do not benefit.They are distinguished by the idea that they have “adopted loudfeminine identities that often led them to be outspoken”(Webb, Westergaard, Trobe, Towernend, 2015, pg.56).
Thispersona does not conform to the ideal female student, and therefore showswhy girls from working-class backgrounds aren’t able to progress. They are also defeated by the dilemma of eitherpractising their “hyper-heterosexual feminine identity” (Webb, Westergaard, Trobe, Towernend,2015, pg. 56) which means to perform towards their familialideals, which consist of leaving school early or “reject theirworking-class identity and conform to middle class identity”(Webb, Westergaard, Trobe, Towernend, 2015, pg.
56) whichschools follow to gain the greatest students. These issues aren’t touched upon by feminists, butvery much ignored. They are reluctant to represent all forms of people who arein need of equality just as much.
This links closely to the argument of whitefeminists who indeed, have privilege upon which help them thrive in smallfragments of feminism, not all. ConclusionIt is clear that changes still need to be done in order for the social movement, feminism,to result in educational changes. Feminism conquered just everything yet as itstill has to achieve full equalityin educational settings. Education in the Westernworld is benefiting from the feminist movement I’ve previously mentioned. Allaround the world, girls are still fighting for the right just to learn.Feminism needs to conquer this in order for education to create the charactersin the world that will result in bigger changes.