It seems ridiculous that lessons in school on how to respect women are needed, and yet, here we are. With the country still reeling after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, the UK Policing Minister has called for this to be added to sex education in their schools. (1)
Call For Lessons In School On How To Respect Women
Knowing how to respect women is not rocket science. In fact, it really shouldn’t be any different than how to respect men. Despite this, in the UK, 97% of women say they have been sexually harassed by a man at least once in their lives so far. (2)
Because a male police officer in the UK murdered Sarah Everard while she was walking home from a friend’s place one evening, people across the UK are demanding change. UK policing minister Kit Malthouse says that better awareness and education surrounding how we are raising our children is the only way to solve this. (3)
The UK is already teaching what’s called PSHE (personal, social, health, and economic education) in schools. He says that respect for women needs to be included. (1)
“It may be that we need to think about what PSHE includes about, for example, the way people are treated in the street and the way women and girls are contemplated in the public realm.” (1)
We Must Raise A Generation Of Boys Who Respect Women
What it comes down to is the fact that for hundreds of years, women have not enjoyed the same amount of respect as men. Women have to prove themselves constantly and are continuously warding off unwanted advances from men. They must do both of these things in the workplace, at the gym, in school, during nights out, and while simply walking down the street.
Malthouse is not the only politician to suggest this. Former British Prime Minister Teresa May also spoke out about how boys need to be educated. They should be taught that things like cat-calling are wrong, about consent, and in general “respect for women and what is or is not acceptable in relationships.” (1)
After Everard’s death, the British government announced that they would place undercover police officers in bars to help prevent sexual harassment. Women did not receive information well. (1)
“Sarah Everard was not on a night out . . . Ask a woman who has gone for a run in broad daylight in their parks about their experiences, and you will realize some of the scale of the challenge,” said Labor MP Sella Creasy. (1)
To top it off, it was a police officer who murdered the young woman. Women around the UK have lost faith in the authorities meant to protect them. They also question why uniformed police officers need undercover cops to tell them a woman is being harassed in order for the officer to believe them. (1)
Make Misogyny A Hate Crime
Labor MP Sarah Champion is calling for the cabinet to make misogyny a hate crime. The time to act was yesterday, but today is better than nothing. (1)
“For too long, abuse and particularly violence against women and girls, has gone on unchecked and survivors have been left to deal with a system that not only isn’t working, but is often making their situation worse.” she says. “Crimes against women often specifically occur because they are women. These crimes are not gender neutral and so the law should not be either. The definition must be considered about making misogyny a hate crime.” (1)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced a similar sentiment about making the streets safer for women. They added £25 million to the Safer Streets Fund for things such as better lighting and camera surveillance. (3)
While those are both good things, it still doesn’t address the fact that boys need to be brought up differently.
Whose Responsibility Is It To Teach Respect?
The announcement of adding how to respect women to the sex education curriculum has sparked much debate online as to whose job it is to teach this to children. Many people ask why the task is being placed on teachers when it should be taught at home. Others are wondering why just general respect for each other regardless of gender isn’t being talked about. (4)
As many others have pointed out, the reality is that ingrained social bias and ideas about women have existed for hundreds of years. Even good parents will have unconscious bias and do things or say things they may not realize are incorrect. (4)
More importantly, school boards can regulate this education to make sure that every student receives it. Should parents be having serious discussions with their sons (and daughters) about women’s rights, respect, and safety? Of course, but unfortunately, there are plenty of children out there without proper parenting who need these lessons, too. (4)
Teaching it in school guarantees that every child is educated. Hopefully, it means future generations of men won’t feel threatened by women, won’t feel like they are somehow superior to women, and won’t feel like they “deserve” things from women. If we teach boys that women don’t owe them anything and deserve respect just as much as men do, then the world will become a safer place for women.
Keep Reading: The scary truth about what’s hurting our kids
- “Schools urged to give lessons to boys on how to respect women and girls.” Metro. Faye Brown. March 17, 2021.
- Un Women UK.
- “Schools urged to teach boys how to treat women and girls with respect on Britain’s streets.” Daily Mail. Milly Vincent. March 17, 2021.
- “Schools Urged To Give Lessons To Boys on How To Respect Women.” Twenty-Two Words. Emily Puckering.