Back to School and Back to Action

By Liz Newbury, NOW Web Coordinator

This school year, don’t just be a passive learner — be an activist learner.

Across the country, students are preparing for a new school year. And along with school supplies and textbooks, we should also gear up by bringing our open minds and a critical feminist eyes to the classroom.

Everything is NOT equal in academia just because Title IX passed in 1972. The truth of the matter is that a few decades haven’t had the time to undo centuries of discrimination.

While some are still trying, we still haven’t changed the pedagogy of the classroom to make it inclusive and more diverse. Across the nation, young girls are still being taught that they aren’t good at math even before learning to add one plus one — which only starts a domino effect of what else we aren’t supposed to be good at. Textbooks are still primarily focusing on the triumphs of white men, and they are still being written by mostly white men — sending the message that academia is something white men do. Oh, and home economics is just for girls.

What it boils down to is that in a multitude of tiny ways, we are making gender distinctions in our classroom that simply reinforce long-standing stereotypes.

How are you taking action to make classrooms more equal? When you notice students being pigeon-holed into stereotypes, how are you taking steps? Talking to other students? Teachers? Schools? Are you taking the time to put your textbooks, homework, classroom composition, etc. under a critical feminist lens? Are you asking for change, or for more money to go towards making the classroom equal?

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