How To Promote Gender Equality In University
For centuries, gender equality has been a taboo topic in society, particularly in universities. In this world where men are superior over others, women are reduced to being child-bearers and homemakers. Moreover, they were not allowed some privileges available to men, such as the right to vote and hold a political position. But as time went on, several women activists and writers battled their way to gain the rights and privileges that all women deserve.
However, the fight for gender inequality is still ongoing. With the emergence of other genders, numerous LGBTQ communities around the world continue to fight for their rights and recognition. Their objectives are to educate the masses about the different gender classifications and promote gender equality. So, if you are a teacher and you want to know more about how to promote gender equality in education, keep reading.
Use Gender-Neutral Language When Appropriate
Words are powerful tools you can use for whatever purpose. Whether you use them to honor or hurt others, your words can impact other people’s lives, especially your students. Nowadays, students are becoming more assertive in expressing their preferences. Therefore, you should think twice before speaking.
Moreover, it would be best to use your position and influence to educate your students and others about gender equality. But to be effective, you must first research gender-inclusive language as a part of learning how to stop gender inequality. In this way, you know the right terms to use whenever you interact with them and create assessments or letters.
For example, you must use gender-neutral pronouns of the person you are talking to if you are unsure of their gender. This will prevent you from offending them. Or, encourage your students to submit outputs that use gender-inclusive language, even if they referred to a pre written essay.
Avoid Segregating Boys And Girls Into Separate Lines
Teaching your students how to promote gender equality is not easy because of your beliefs, upbringing, or habits. But if you truly want them to have new perspectives about gender equality, the change must start in you. Only then can you be more conscious and active in promoting gender equality consistently. Even if it is not evident in your other colleagues’ actions, you must act on it first.
For example, it is common for schools to segregate boys and girls. This is especially true when arranging the students per section or making class records. However, this should not be the case in universities anymore. The number of boys and girls per class will not be equal anyway. So, it would be best to disregard their sex altogether when asking them to fall in line. By doing this, you can show how you break the gender stereotypes, which your students will witness and appreciate.
Seat and Group Students Intentionally
Another way of showing equality in the classroom is seating and grouping students intentionally, without gender restrictions. Students often sit beside their friends to feel comfortable inside the classroom. But as a teacher, you have the authority to distribute the students randomly. It will show your support for gender equality and fulfill your goal to make them interact with one another. Moreover, it will help them get to know other students outside their circle.
As a teacher, you are not only responsible for making the seating arrangement but also the groupings for class activities. Therefore, even if it is convenient to make them choose their group mates, it would be best to group them yourself. In this way, no one will feel left out, and everyone will be spread out regardless of gender.
Be Reflective and Be Objective
In this age of information, people tend to act first before thinking or contemplating. While it sparks spontaneity and assertiveness, others can be hurt by our actions, and even apologies cannot remedy the situation. The challenges faced by women’s today will also not ease if gender discrimination persists in our society.
Therefore, you should strive to practice gender bias-free teaching strategies and actions inside or outside the classroom. For example, instead of giving examples of gender discrimination in education, provide materials that go against it. Or, ask your students for feedback regarding your teaching methods and actions, whether they feel offended or not. If they admit to being uncomfortable or offended, you should reflect on it and make an effort to change your ways.
Ensure Educational Materials Are Free From Gender Stereotypes.
Most of the time, students learn about gender stereotypes through literature, whether through books or films. Because schools normally use materials from the classics, students are exposed to the ways and characteristics of a patriarchal society. Men are portrayed as the superior sex, usually holding high and valuable positions in the community. Meanwhile, women are characterized as weak, incapable of handling huge responsibilities, and limited to doing household chores.
If you want to empower your students and break gender stereotypes, you should look for appropriate educational materials. Steer away from materials that do not value women and other genders. Instead, it would be best to use literary works that are gender equality examples. Contemporary works are now mindful of gender-neutral language and gender stereotypes, so try to use them in your classes.
Explain the Context
Promoting gender equity would be a challenging feat, but it should start with someone who wants to promote change. Teachers like you should not only be vessels of knowledge and information but also advocates of societal changes. And one of the ways to do this is by educating them and explaining context and history if necessary.
For example, if you discuss a literary piece showing gender bias or stereotype, explain why it exists. Provide the background story of the writer or era it was written, and then process the information with your students. Furthermore, if you encounter students giving sexist remarks to others, do not simply reprimand them. Instead, explain why their action is inappropriate and teach them the context. If possible, educate them about different ways to promote gender equality to enlighten others.
In conclusion, teachers like you can promote gender equality, even inside the university. You can do this by using gender-neutral language, seating and grouping students intentionally, and not segregating the students. Moreover, you should also be reflective and objective, ensure that educational materials are free from gender stereotypes, and explain the context. Finally, as a teacher, you must strive to educate them about gender equality problems and solutions. In this way, you can promote change in society, one student at a time.