Tag Archives: girls education


Canadian course that teaches nail care and dinner party chat comes under fire

A Canadian school course that teaches girls about dinner party etiquette, polite conversation and nail care has come under fire from critics for being a throwback to the 1950s stereotype of women as ornamental objects.
Launched last month by a school in rural Alberta, the optional “Women Studies” course is aimed at helping 11-to-15-year-old girls to “navigate adolescence with their self-image and self-esteem intact”, school authorities said.
The lesson plan includes a field trip for students to learn how to plan recipes, table settings and music for a dinner party. Students will also learn nail care and application and how to choose the most flattering hairstyles and clothing.
“In this age of social media, girls are being frequently compared to others and exposed to messages about how they aren’t good enough unless they dress and behave a certain way,” said Michelle Savoie, a teacher at Eleanor Hall School who designed the course.
“The goal is to improve the way they see themselves and other women around them,” she said in a statement, adding that she wanted to teach girls to be “confident, strong and independent”.
However, the course has sparked a backlash that has prompted school officials to say they would review the course.
One critic, University of Alberta Professor Christina Stasia, said the course promoted sexist, outdated stereotypes.
“It doesn’t really equip girls with anything to navigate the barriers they will be encountering as they grow up,” she was quoted as saying by local media.
A 2015 U.N. report raised concerns about persisting inequalities between women and men in Canada.
The country fell to 35th place in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 global gender gap index – which measures disparities between men and women in economics, education, health and political empowerment – from 19th place two years earlier.
Commenting on the school’s Facebook page, one woman wrote: “I’m just wondering, are you teaching boys about how to dress for their body shape and what hairstyle suits them best?”
Alberta’s education minister David Eggen said he wanted school officials to immediately revamp the course.
“We informed them that all problematic or offensive components must be changed. They have assured me they will make appropriate changes,” Eggen was quoted as saying by local media.

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Girls education: the countries where marriage is more likely than school at 18

Girls are more likely to be married off before their eighteenth  birthday than enroll in secondary school in an “alarming” 26 countries, a global charity said on Friday.
Niger, where 76 percent of girls marry before they turn 18 and only 10 percent enroll in secondary school, topped the list compiled by CARE International, followed by Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Somalia.
“Girls shouldn’t be walking down the aisle in greater numbers than into secondary school classrooms,” Helen Pankhurst of CARE International said in a statement.
“Every time a girl under 18 is forced into a marriage or prevented from attending school, it’s a missed opportunity to improve that girl’s life and strike at the roots of poverty.”
Child marriage deprives girls of education and opportunities and puts them at risk of serious injury or death if they have children before their bodies are ready. They are also more vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence.
Although many countries have closed the gender gap in primary education, they still have significant gaps when it comes to secondary education, said CARE in a report published ahead of International Day of the Girl Child.
Each day about 39,000 girls worldwide are forced to marry, said CARE, citing United Nations figures. Meanwhile, 62 million girls are not in school, half of them adolescents.
Some of the underlying causes of child marriage, such as poverty and gender discrimination, apply across countries. Others are more localised, like trafficking of girls in Mauritania, dowry considerations in Bangladesh or conflicts in Afghanistan and Mali, CARE said.
In June, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for an end to child, early and forced marriage, and recognising child marriage as a violation of human rights.
Ending child marriage by 2030 is one of the targets contained in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders at a U.N. summit in September.

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Education for girls worldwide to be assessed using new index

An advocacy group set up by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Foreign Policy Magazine are launching an annual index to assess the availability and quality of education for girls around the world, organizers said on Monday.
The index will compile data to highlight gaps in secondary educational opportunities as well as gaps in donor funding, the magazine said in a statement.
“This new index is a ‘report card’ for our leaders, a critical step toward helping ensure that my sisters everywhere can have a quality, safe and free secondary education,” said  the 18-year-old Yousafzai in the statement.
Yousafzai was shot in the head in Pakistan in 2012 by the Taliban for advocating girls’ rights to education.
Some 62 million girls are out of school around the world, and girls have faced violence for trying to go to school in 70 nations, according to the Malala Fund, which Yousafzai founded with her father to support education for girls.
The yearly index will show the availability, quality and security of girls’ secondary education, using data from non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, national governments and other groups, the Washington, D.C.-based magazine said. It did not say when the first index would be published.
The education activist is the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 2014. She is the topic of a documentary movie “He Named Me Malala,” to be released in October.
Via the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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